Now that was a crazy win. The Wiz erased a 20-point defict and beat the Bulls 97-91 tonight thanks to a 22-1 third quarter run and a fortunate bounce that allowed Antawn Jamison to make a crucial three-point play with 27 seconds remaining. Wow.
But here's the really funny part about covering this team: while we were interviewing Coach Eddie Jordan just outside of the Wiz lockeroom after the game, we could hear these louds shouting and cheering coming from the Wiz locker room. "Wow," I thought. "These guys are really fired up. What an inspiring win." Not exactly.
When we walked in, most of the players were crowded around a television repeatedly watching a replay of the dunk Andres Nocioni threw down over Wiz rookie Oleksiy Pecherov in the third quarter. You guys may not have seen this because it was on a local broadcast, but not long after the dunk, the TV crew here threw up a freeze-frame shot of the dunk with the face of Stewie from Family Guy super-imposed over Pecherov's head. Hillarious. When it came on, the entire locker room lost it.
Pesh took it all stride. "I don't mind zo much. It happens you know? Darius Songaila was getting dressed next to Pesh and just shook his head and offered some veteran advice. "You are my brother but man, you have to foul him in that situation. You can't let that happen."
So funny. It's going to kill Steinberg that he wasn't here to witness it. Anyway, classic win for the Wiz and a brutal, brutal loss for the Bulls. Maybe a season killer.
The game: The 22-1 run was something to see. It was actually a series of runs because Bulls Coach Jim Boylan tried to break it up with a timeout but it didn't matter. It began with a layup by Songaila off a nice pass from Jamison. Mason hit a 3. Daniels made a 15-footer. Mason came up with a steal and made a fastbreak layup and a free throw to make it 52-44 Bulls.
Mason: "We just came out and got rolling. We started forcing some turnovers and guys started hitting shots and we just took it from there."
The push continued with a Daniels layup, a 19-footer by Mason, a Jamison 19-footer, a Mason pass to Songaila for a 23-footer and finally, a Jamison tip-in off of a miss by Songaila. That shot gave the Wiz their first lead at 54-53 and the Bulls were in serious trouble. In all, the Wiz outscored the Bulls 35-14 in the third and forced 10 turnovers.
Boylan: "We got what we deserved tonight. We deserved to lose that game. We did not play 48 minutes (just warming up). We played one half and we thought that was enough...We are embarassed. We embarassed this organization and the city of Chicago tonight. I apologize for that. It's a tough loss for us to swallow."
Jordan said he would continue to start Songaila at forward. Jordan: "It was a good night for both of them. I just thought that moving forward, having the veteran plays will be very crucial for us and Darius responded very well and Andray responded very well."
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