The Washington Bullets will make their first road appearance after four straight home games tonight when they travel to Richfield, Ohio, to play the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Going into last night's NBA games, the Cavaliers had a half-game lead over the Houston Rockets for first place in the Central Division, while the Bullets were four games off the pace. Washington hosted Phoenix last night, while Cleveland was at Philadelphia and Denver at Houston.
The Bullets and Cavaliers have met once this season and the Bullets handed Cleveland a 117-99 thrashing. That game was never in doubt, as the Bullets sped to a 34-19 first quarter lead and didn't look back. Leonard Robinson scored 28 points and Elvin Hayes 20.
Jim Chones was high for Cleveland with 15 points.
The Cavaliers' big scorer, Campy Russel, went three for 15 and that doomed Cleveland.
The Bullets' had lost three in a row going into that Christmas night game, but have won five of six since, going into the Phoenix game.
In addition to Russell, the Cavaliers are led by former Mackin High School and Notre Dame star Austin Carr. The other starters are Chones at center Jim Brewer at one forward opposite Carr, and Jim Cleamons. Nate Thurmond, Bingo Smith and Dick Snyder-provide a lot of firepower off the bench for the Cavaliers.
The Bullets have been getting strong performances from Robinson, who has scored in double figures in 15 straight games, and from rookies Mitch Kupchak and Larry Wright.
Kupchak is leading the team in field-goal percentage, 53 per cent, and is averaging 7.6 points a game while giving Wes Unseld needed rest at center.
Wright, one of the NBA's quickest guards, is averaging 7.7 points and leads the team in free-throw-shooting, 82 per cent.
"We were carrying them (Kupchak and Wright) early in the season, but they're carrying themselves, now," coach Dick Motta said.