The Golden State Warriors overcame Elvin Hayes' 47 points today and handed the Washington Bullets their third straight road defeat, 122-119.
The Bullets trailed by 14 entering the final period but rode Hayes' pin-point shooting to tie at 115-all with one minute left.
A layup by Charles Dudley, then a 20-footer by Gus Williams after Phil Chenier missed an 18-foot jump shot put the Warriors ahead, 119-115.
Tom Henderson's layup put the Bullets two back but Mike Riordan fouled Rick Barry in the backcourt and the Warrior forward made both free throws. Chenier countered with a layup, then Wes Unseld fouled Clifford Ray.
Ray, a poor free-throw shooter, made one of two to wrap up the triumph with three seconds to go.
Hayes received little support from his teammates, who appeared lethargic most of the afternoon. Golden State, in contrast, had eight players in double figures, led by Jamaal Wikes' 18 points.
The Bullets are now 39-28 and trail Central Division leader Huston by 1 1/2 games.
The Bullets got in trouble in the opening half when they weren't able to control the Warrior reserves.
Rick Barry sat out most of the second quarter with foul trouble and guard Phil Smith played only a few minutes of the half after picking up three quick fouls.
But Warriors like rookie Sonny Parker and Derreck Dickey picked up the slack and wouldn't let the Bullets pull away. Dickey and Parker would up with six points each by intermission.
Washington jumped off to a 14-9 lead, thanks in part to baskets by Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld after offensive rebounds. Leonard Gray, who started in place of Kevin Grevey, was doing a fine job blocking Barry off the boards.
Five straight points by Barry got the Warriors even before Washington baskets by Hayes, Phil Chenier and Unseld opened a six-point margin.
That lead grew to 29-22 near the end of the period. Hayes and Tom Henderson were doing the bulk of the damage, Henderson on full-court sprints for layups and Hayes on short jumpers.
But the Warriors put in four quick points just before the quarter ended, cutting the Bullet lead to 29-26.
Golden State finally went ahead, 41-39, midway through the second period on a three-point play by Dickey, then stretched their lead on a three-point play by Clifford Ray and a rebound basket by Parker.
The closest Washington could come in the half after that was 56-55. A rebound bucket by Ray and a jumper by Gus Williams offset a Henderson layup to give the Warriors a 60-57 halftime lead.
Barry and Smith, the Warriors' top scorers, had 14 points in the half. Golden State got 27 points from its reserves and shot 51 per cent, thanks to some excellent offensive movement that produced easy inside baskets.
Only 54 per cent shooting by Washington kept the Bullets in contention. Hayes missed only two of 10 shots and scored 19 points. Henderson, the jitterbug guard, added 14 on six of 10 shots.