The Bullets, inconsistent all season, appear to have their NBA act together and to be ready to make a run at Central Division leaders Cleveland and Houston.
The Bullets became a .500 team, at 17-17 for the first time since Nov. 20 when they dumped the New York Nets at Capital Centre Wednesday night.
As astounding as it seems, the Bullets have not been above .500 this season. But, as pop singer Rod Stewart says, "Tonight's the Night," or, at least, it should be the night. The Phoenix Suns, in last place in the Pacific Division, will come into Capital Centre for an 8:05 game against the Bullets.
Washington is sitting on a four-garue winning streak, its longest of the season and it has now found [WORD ILLEGIBLE]
"We're ready to make a run now," Leonard Robinson, one of the hottest Bullets, said, "If we can win six, seven or eight in a row, we'll be okay. I think we're set. We know what we have to do and how to do it. Nobody is way out ahead of us, anyway."
Indeed, nobody is running away from the Bullets. After quick starts, Cleveland and Houston have slowed and the Bullets are within reach of both.
Robinson, who teams with Elvin Hayes to give the Bullets a pair of forwards to match almost any other team's, has proven to be one of the most versatile Bullets.
His offensive ability has never been in doubt. At 6-7,225, he is usually too strong for a small forward to guard and too quick for a big forward. He has scored in double figures in the last 15 games and has increased his average to 17.6 points a game, shooting 49 per cent from the floor.
He had 28 points in the 107-92 victory over the Nets Wednesday.
Against New York Robinson also showed his defensive ability. Coach Dick Motta put him on the Nets' 6-2, 200-pound guard, John Williamson and Robinson did the job.
Williamson was not able to muscle in over Robinson as he does against most defenders. With Williamson out of the Nets' offense, they were in trouble. And worst luck for the Nets, Williamson incurred a chipped bone in the little finger of his left hand late in the game. He may try to keep playing with a splint on it.
The Suns, last year's NBA runners-up, are in the middle of a tough seven-game road trip of which they have lost the first three.
They beat the Bullets, 104-98, in a nationally televised game on Thanksgiving in Phoenix by forcing 35 turnovers.
All five Phoenix starters are averaging in double figures, guard Paul Westphal tops with a 19.6 average. His running mate, Ricky Sobers, is next, 15.2. Last year's rookie of the year, center Alvan Adams, is averaging 15 points.
The forwards are Curtis Perry (10.7) and Gar Heard (12.1).
After the Phoenix game, the Bullets play in Cleveland Saturday and in Milwaukee Tuesday.
Phil Chenier's 11-for-13 shooting, including making his first eight shots against the Nets, was not the best shooting performance by a Bullet this season. Dave Bing went 7-7 against Houston Saturday night and Larry Wright was 11-13 against Indiana Dec. 28. Chenier was 11-15 in the game against New Orleans in which Pete Maravich scored 50 points . . . In the last three games the Bullets have out-rebounded Atlanta, Houston and New York, 151-98 . . . Hayes is having one of his best all-around seasons. He is currently ninth in the NBA in scoring, seventh in rebounding and third in blocked shots.