Bullets' Playoff Drought Over

From Associated Press

Chris Webber and Juwan Howard, former members of Michigan's Fab Five, teamed together to help end the Washington Bullets' long playoff drought and eased a few bad memories of their own.

Led by Webber and Howard, the Bullets advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1988 with an 85-81 victory over the Cavaliers Sunday at Cleveland.

"For three years, I've had to sit on losing, and that's not easy to do," said Webber, who had 23 points and 17 rebounds to advance to the playoffs for the first time since his rookie year with Golden State.

"Just being here with Juwan--we criticized ourselves so much for not making it the first two years--I can't explain it. I feel great."

Howard sank a clutch jumper in the final seconds to send the Bullets into a first round matchup with the Chicago Bulls, beginning Friday night.

Houston 103, San Antonio 99--The Rockets locked up homecourt advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs and ended the Spurs' worst season as an NBA franchise with a victory at San Antonio.

Hakeem Olajuwon scored 27 points and Charles Barkley added 24 for Houston, which will open the playoffs against Minnesota on Thursday.

Utah 113, Sacramento 109--Karl Malone had 18 points and John Stockton had 17 points and 14 assists at Sacramento as the Jazz defeated the Kings for the 14th consecutive game.

Rookie Shandon Anderson added 14 points for the Jazz, who won 19 of their last 20 regular-season games. Malone, who played 28 minutes, had to re-enter the game in the closing minutes after three Utah players fouled out of the physical contest.

Starters Mitch Richmond, Brian Grant and Billy Owens missed the game for the Kings, who dressed only nine players.

Milwaukee 120, Charlotte 100--The playoff-bound Hornets looked lifeless in their regular-season finale with a loss at Milwaukee to drop to the sixth playoff position in the East.

The Hornets will face the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs beginning Thursday. They finished with the same record (54-28) as Detroit, but the Pistons had the tiebreaker edge because they won the season series, 3-1.

Vin Baker led the Milwaukee Bucks with 31 points on 13-of-13 shooting, Armon Gilliam added 23 and rookie Ray Allen 21 for the Bucks, who missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.

Detroit 124, Indiana 120--Grant Hill scored nine of his 38 points in overtime as the Pistons won at Indianapolis and ruined what was rumored to be Larry Brown's last game as the Pacers' coach.

Rick Smits led Indiana with 29 points and 10 rebounds and Miller added 27.

"Today was kind of confusing," Indiana forward Antonio Davis said. "It was hard to understand what was going on. There were a lot of things that went on with us this season that threw everybody off."

Lindsey Hunter scored 30 and Terry Mills 24 for the Pistons.

Toronto 125, Boston 94--Damon Stoudamire scored 32 points to lead the Raptors at Boston as the Celtics ended the worst season in franchise history. Boston finished 15-67, far worse than the previous team mark for futility of 22-46 in 1949-50.

New Jersey 108, Atlanta 92--Jim Jackson had 25 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for his second triple-double this month for the Nets at East Rutherford, N.J.

The playoff-bound Hawks, who played their starters only about half the game, were led by forward Alan Henderson's career-high 19 points and 10 rebounds.

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