Maclean Helps Bullets Macling on for Series Victory

Maclean hit 11 of his 19 shots in the Game 7 victory.

(Note: This is the second in a series of simulated playoff series to determine the worst team in franchise history in the Bullets Forever Epic Failoff.  In our first match-up, the 5th seeded 92-93 Bullets lost to the 94-95 Bullets, sending them to the 2nd round.  Today's match-up pits the 3rd seeded 1966-67 Baltimore Bullets against the 6th 1993-94 Washington Bullets. -Jake]

BALTIMORE - If you're looking for more proof that it's not about how you start, it's how you finish, look no further than Washington Bullets star Don Maclean.

A six point performance in Game 1 left much to be desired, but he came through strong when it mattered, delivering 27 points and 10 rebounds in the decisive Game 7.  "What a performance," said Washington Bullets coach Wes Unseld after the game.  "He really injected some strength inside when we needed it the most.  He juiced our team up with plenty of confidence tonight."

The Bullets were sorely in need of confidence after squandering a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 series lead.

After losing Game 1 of the series, thanks in part to a lackluster performance from Maclean, Washington came back to win Game 2 in Baltimore and then take both games at home.  Maclean's improved performance played a part in the three straight victories, but the real hero during that stretch was rookie Tom Gugliotta who scored over 20 points and pulled in over 10 rebounds in all 3 games.

With their backs against the wall in Game 5, Baltimore finally found a way to slow down Gugliotta, holding him to 10 points.  That, combined with the performance of (34 points) and Gus Johnson (18 points and 15 rebounds) helped Baltimore escape and force Game 6 in Washington.

Most prognosticators assumed that Washington would be able to end the series at home, but Baltimore refused to go along with the script.  The series' most dramatic game saw plenty of dramatic shots and turning points, as well as an overtime period.  Gugliotta hit a running jump shot with a second to go in overtime that appeared to force a second overtime, but Baltimore's Gus Johnson was able to get open under the basket and banked in the game-winner at the buzzer to force a Game 7 back in Baltimore.

Having lost all the momentum they once possessed, Washington needed someone to step up, and Maclean answered the call.  "I knew someone needed to step up and defend this team's honor," said Maclean after the game.  "If I had to go out there and play naked, I'd do it.  I'll do whatever takes to help us win."

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