PORTLAND, ORE., JAN. 18 -- It got away a little bit, and then all at once from the Washington Bullets, who never gave themselves a chance to win and got buried by the Portland Trail Blazers, 123-99, tonight in front of the usual sellout crowd at Memorial Coliseum.
The Bullets (16-20) were blitzed by a 12-2 Portland run to end the first half, and a 17-5 Trail Blazers burst midway through the third quarter that ended any semblance of competition. Portland (33-7) won its 18th home game in 20 tries this season.
Bernard King shot just six of 15, scoring 15 points for the Bullets. Given that forward Harvey Grant was in street clothes suffering with shin splints, Washington was about 35 points in the hole to start. No one else stepped into the breach, though Mark Alarie (14 points, season-high 12 rebounds) played very well in Grant's place.
Portland had six players in double figures. Cliff Robinson, starting for injured Buck Williams, tied his career high with 22 points. Jerome Kersey added 16, as did Danny Young off the bench.
Washington shot itself in the foot with 21 turnovers, which Portland converted into 24 points. And the Trail Blazers scorched Washington 39-14 in fast-break points.
"We didn't take care of the ball very well," guard Darrell Walker said. "And when you turn it over to that team they're going to kick your butts, because they're so good in the open court."
Washington trailed 55-44 with 54 seconds left in the first half before the Trail Blazers scored seven points to end the half. And after the Bullets got within nine early in the third, they scored just two points the next four and a half minutes.
"We missed some shots when it was close," said guard Haywoode Workman (eight points). "And we had a lot of turnovers. They converted and we didn't. They make every time down the court count. They would get a foul or they would score."
The Trail Blazers scored eight points in the final 1:55 of the first quarter and led 32-25 after one. And they went on a 12-4 run to begin the second. Jerome Kersey got loose for a transition dunk that gave Portland a 38-27 lead, and after a Pervis Ellison jumper for the Bullets, Young hit successive three-point jumpers, the second of which gave the Trail Blazers a 15-point lead.
But Washington stayed in contact with a hybrid lineup including Alarie, A. J. English, Tom Hammonds and Ellison. That group scored eight of the next 10 points, with English's jumper midway through the period making it 46-37. Later, English's three point play at 4:12 made it a 49-42 game.
And then, thud.
The Bullets scored just two points the rest of the half. They didn't make another field goal, missing six straight shots and committing five turnovers. King was in the lineup the last four minutes, but didn't get a play called for him, and the two times he touched the ball, Drexler stole it from him the first time and King was called for an offensive foul the next.
Portland's end-of-half run was 12-2. It wouldn't have been as damaging if the Bullets hadn't gotten brainlocked the last minute. They were down only 55-44 when Workman broke their drought with free throws at 54 seconds to play.
Mistakes, however, soon followed. Byron Irvin, in the game for King (three fouls), was in the wrong defense, and Robinson went down the lane untouched for a dunk. English then didn't touch the rim on a drive to the basket, and Porter beat everyone down the floor for a transition basket.
And Workman was stripped of the ball by Porter in the final 10 seconds of the half, leading to another Robinson dunk and a 61-44 Trail Blazers lead at halftime.
They had a couple of chances to get within seven in the third quarter, but the offense stopped again. They missed six straight shots and the Trail Blazers scored nine straight. Drexler woke up to score four, and Robinson, the second-year forward from Connecticut, continued to kill the Bullets with an offensive rebound and a three-point play, extending Portland's lead to 72-54 at 5:32.BULLETS (99)
Min FG FT O-T A PF Pts King 29 6-15 3-3 0-1 2 3 15 Alarie 26 7-12 0-0 3-9 2 4 14 Jones 19 0-0 0-0 0-5 1 3
WASHINGTON -- Percentages: FG .418, FT .957; Three-point goals: 1-4, .250 (Workman 1-1, Eackles 0-1, Englis
PORTLAND -- Percentages: FG .444, FT .636; Three-point goals: 6-15, .400 (Young 4-7, Ainge 1-2, Porter 1-5,
A: 12,884. T: 2:03.