PORTLAND, JAN. 17 -- Ledell Eackles was feeling reasonably good about his game-winning free throws in Wednesday's 101-99 Washington Bullets victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. But Coach Wes Unseld came over.

"You know how many rebounds you got?" Unseld asked.

What is zero, Alex? In 27 minutes?


But Washington got the win, despite losing Harvey Grant to shin splints early in the third quarter, a 12-of-33 shooting night from Bernard King and 21 turnovers. The Bullets won by pounding the Clippers on the rebounding glass by a 56-43 margin and getting 34 points from the bench, led by Eackles' 18.

Eackles is shooting 17 of 31 (.548) his last three games. He still is tiring in the second half -- two of eight in the second half against Phoenix, three of seven against the Clippers. But he's scoring.

"I'm feeling more positive about my game," said Eackles, who made eight of 13 shots Wednesday. "I feel better when I get out there."

Tom Hammonds played much of the second half for Grant, grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds and defended the Clippers' last-second attempt to tie the game by deflecting a lob intended for Ken Norman.

"Every time you win a game with one of your key guys out for such a long stretch," King said, "and have someone coming off the bench, it boosts their confidence. When we go to Tommy again, he's got the confidence that he can do the job. For us going into Portland and Seattle, we feel pretty good about this."

Grant has played with the shin splints all season. They come and go. He said they flared up when the Bullets played Denver Dec. 29, and that he's been playing with them ever since.

It's quite simple. Grant can't run when the splints flare up. It showed Wednesday, when he couldn't fill the lanes in transition. And Grant is Washington's best fast break finisher. He was examined by the Trail Blazers' doctor today and his status for Friday's game is uncertain.

"I wasn't moving and doing the things I do best," Grant said. "I think Wes and them saw it."

Hammonds made the most of his 19 minutes. Granted, many of his rebounds came off missed Clippers free throws -- Los Angeles was 17 of 31 from the line -- but rebounds are rebounds.

He insists that if he gets the playing time, he can produce. The Bullets would like to see better consistency defensively and it wouldn't hurt Hammonds's cause to stop missing layins.

"If I consistently do the things and consistently get the minutes and play with the same intensity I think I'll definitely help this team," Hammonds said.

"He came in and helped us out quite a bit," Unseld said. "We needed that. We've got to get rebounding from that spot. That's the {power forward} spot. We've got to get rebounding out of there. That's been a big key. I harp on that a lot but it's important."

Washington could have blown the Clippers out in the third quarter. Los Angeles scored eight points in better than six minutes of the period, missing 10 of 12 shots. But the Bullets couldn't deal with the Clippers' half-court trap.

Not only did the Bullets get out of their offense, they turned over the ball numerous times, failing to step through the double-teams to find the open man.

"We didn't handle it well," King said. "The only way to attack a trap is to aggressively move the ball up the floor on the dribble. If you try to make passes in the air that's when you get steals. If you try to pass back they get their hands on it down low. You have to cut through the trap.

"We don't see it every game. We may go 10 or 12 games before we see it, and we don't practice it because we don't have that many practices. It kind of throws your rhythm off."

But it was the Bullets who held the Clippers to four points the final 3:01, while Washington got to the foul line on its last five possessions. There were no turnovers, and the Bullets executed their offense.

"We'll take it," said guard Darrell Walker.