Even after being humbled by them, Alonzo Mourning was not impres
BALTIMORE (AP) _ Even after being humbled by them, Alonzo Mourning was not impressed by the Washington Bullets.
Not after the Bullets shot 56 percent from the field. Not after a 40-point second quarter _ the highest single-period output this season against Miami _ in which they hit 14-of-17 shots.
Mourning still considered Washington’s 110-94 victory over the Heat on Friday night an aberration.
``On the road, we can’t let teams shoot 56 percent,″ Mourning said after the Heat had a three-game winning streak halted. ``We’re capable of stopping a team like that. We just got a little complacent.″
But Mourning, who scored a team-high 24 points in the loss, had other barbs for the Bullets, who won their second straight game for the first time this season.
``This will not happen again,″ he promised, ``especially against the Bullets. We are a better team than the Bullets, by far. I know that and you know that.″
Bullets forward Juwan Howard isn’t buying Mourning’s claim.
``I’m not going to take nothing from anyone,″ said Howard, who had 18 points and eight rebounds. He was 4-for-5 and scored 10 of Washington’s points during the second-quarter surge.
``A lot of teams have disrespected us, and that’s going to stop,″ he said. ``We’re not going to give in to them. We’re going to earn their respect.″
Mourning and Howard were key figures in a couple of physical match-ups as the Bullets ended a four-game losing streak to the Heat.
Mourning was outplayed early by Washington center Gheorghe Muresan, who had nine of his game-high 15 rebounds in the first quarter as the Heat withstood some sloppy play for a 19-16 lead.
``He wasn’t frustrating at all. He’s just big,″ Mourning explained. ``I should have done a better job on him, but it’s kind of difficult to move him.″
Mourning and Muresan, who had 19 points, took turns slamming past one another in the middle two quarters, and the 7-foot-7 Bullets center delighted a Baltimore Arena crowd by blocking Mourning in the third quarter.
``It felt good,″ Muresan said. ``He told me, `Face,′ and that was very dumb. I respect him, but I’m not worried to play against him.″
``Zo played well, but so did Gheorghe,″ Bullets coach Jim Lynam said. ``I’m not trying to be flip when I say it (because) that’s rich company. He hung in there eyeball to eyeball with Alonzo.″
Howard and Miami power forward Kevin Willis looked like they were auditioning for WrestleMania during a flurry of elbows, forearms, hip checks and heated verbal exchanges.
At one point, during a timeout late in the first half, Howard warned referee Ed Clarke, ``You better pay attention, or something’s going to happen.″
After the game, Howard said he wasn’t going to let anybody get the best of him in a physical battle.
``Nobody’s going to push me around,″ he said. ``I like that physical style of game. I’ve been playing that way since I grew up in Chicago.″
Howard’s warning did come true, in part. Something did happen. Every time the Heat got close in the second half, the Bullets pulled away.
``Some of that you have to credit Robert Pack,″ Lynam said. ``He broke the defense down. He can slip into the crack.″
Pack, who led the Bullets with 21 points, scored 13 in the third quarter. He said teams still aren’t used to seeing the Bullets in a transition game.
``It’s something new,″ Pack said. ``Teams are used to us running in spurts. With me in the game, I’m running at every opportunity. We have a young, athletic team, so if we can push it and get easy baskets on the break, that benefits us.″
But leave it to Mourning to rain on Pack’s parade by pointing out that Washington only outscored Miami on fast-break points by an 11-10 margin.
``We’re there; they’re not. We just didn’t show it this evening,″ Mourning said. ``You have to realize the level of talent you have and at the same time establish a level of consistency.″