The Washington Bullets, one of the hottest teams in the National Basketball Association, will seek their sixth straight victory tonight, opposing the Golden State Warriors at Capital Centre at 8:05.
The Warriors are a jinx team to the Bullets.
Golden State it is remembered, blanked Washington in the NBA finals two seasons ago and the Bullets have beaten the Warriors only once since Washington has lost five in a row to Golden State at Capital Centre.
But the Bullets are not the bumbling bunch that on Dec. 18 was downed by the Warriors, 115-110, in their first meeting of the season.
That defeat dropped the Bullets record to 12-14 and started them on a three-game losing streak. Kevin Grevey played only three minutes of that game and Phil Chenier not at all.
The "New" Bullets have won 11 of their last 13 games and are only one-half game behind first place Cleveland in the Central Division.
The Cavaliers paly at Chicago tonight. A defeat, coupled with a Bullet victory over the Warriors would put the Bullets in first place.
"It's a big game for us, said Bullet coach Dick Motta after directing a two-hour practice at Capital Centre yesterday.
"Boy, we're really playing good, lately. I think we're ready. This game will be a pretty good test."
It will also be a good test for forward Kevin Grevey. He sprained his ankle in the Bullets' 119-108 victory over Detroit Sunday night. He didn't work out Monday, but went through the entire practice yesterday and said he would play tonight.
"It was really stiff and sore before practice," Grevey said," but it loosened up after I started running.I think I'll be o.k. I can run all right, but I cant cut was favoring it a lot today, but by game time, I will have had another day's rest so it should be a lot better.
"Besides, I can stop Rick Barry on one leg anyway," Grevey joked about his matchup with Barry, one of the best all-around forwards in basketball. The versatile Barry leads the Warriors in scoring, minutes played, free throws, steals and assist.
Grevey made seven of 10 shots and scored a season-high 18 points against the Pistons, although he played the second half on his injured ankle. He had 16 points after intermission.
With Grevey in the lineup with rookie guard Larry Wright, the Bullets are a better running team.
Chenier is averaging 19.9 points a game and has scored in double figures in 15 contests in a row.
The key to Chenier's success, Motta said, is that he is moving well without the ball. "Wes (Unseld) and Elvin (Hayes) are setting some good screens for him and he is using htem well."
The Warriors also had their problems early, but have settled down and are four games above .500. They have won three of their last four games and four of their last seven on the road.
They usually play a collapsing zone-type defense that has limited the effectiveness of Hayes, the Bullets' top scorer.
Hayes, averaging 22.5 points a game, made only five of 14 shots in the first game against the Warriors.
That game also marked the only time Motta has been ejected from a game as coach of the Bullets.
After the Warriors, the Bullets play the Pacers in Indiana on Saturday night and host Kansas City on Sunday night.
Then they leave for their longest trip of the season, a seven-game swing of the West. They lost five in a row on their previous such trip.