He is probably the best ballhandling big man in basketball. He rebounds, he passes, he plays defense and he can score 30 points a night.

His name is Bill Walton and he is surrounded by a group of young Portland Trail Blazers who complement him perfectly.

Under the tutelage of coach Jack Ramsay, the Trail Blazers have won more games this year than any other team in the National Basketball Association.

Walton and his mates will make their only Capital Centre appearance of the season tonight at 8:05 against the Bullets.

Over the last four games the Blazers are averaging 134.8 points. Their point differential is plus-8.9 the best in the NBA.

They scored 150 points against San Antonio, 146 against Philadelphia and 145 against Indiana.

Portland is also the fourth-best defensive team in the league.

The 6-foot-11 Walton is the key. He missed two games recently and played only five minutes in another because of a bruissed knee, but is well now. Walton leads the NBA in rebounds and block shots and is 10th in field-goal percentage.

Members of his supporting cast may not be household names but they are good ones.

Maurice Lucas is the league's fourth-leading rebounder and a demon underneath with basket - or without the ball.

Guard Lionel Hollins has a head injury and his status for tonight's game is uncertain. Herm Gilliam has been starting in his place.

Former University of Viriginia star Wally Walker has been playing about 15 minutes a game and has shot per cent in his last eight outings.