STGeorge Gervin scored 31 points and Larry Kenon registered 30 tonight to lead the San Antonio Spurs to an important 122-166 victory over the erratic Washington Bullets.

It was the second straight game in which the Bullets didn't appear to have much zip, and their second straight defeat.

They threw the ball away much of the night (25 turnovers) and played a generally sloppy game.

Gervin, known as the Iceman because of his cool demeanor, scored 23 of his points in the second half.

The bullets had no one who could contain the 6-foot-7 guard. He had seven slam dunks, some of them against little if any resistance.

"They spread on us and he was coming off a simple pick," a visibly shaken Bullt coach Dick Motta said. "We didn't have anyone who could control him. We tried two-timing him and everything. We just weren't with it tonight. We weren't in it."

The result, which came before 10,391 at HemisFair Arena, clinched an NBA playoff spot for the Spurs. And it put them a half-game behind the Bullets, who hold second place in the Central Division.

First-place Houston led the Bullet by 2 1/2 games before the game here and the Rockets' contest at Golden State tonight.

Washington will try to regroup against the Atlanta Hawks at 8:05 p.m. Wednesday in Capital Centre.

Rookie Larry Wright almost bailed the Bullets out tonight, but too often it looked as if he were all alone.

Playing the second and fourth quarters and part of the third, Wright scored a career-high 27 points. Elvin Hayes posted 32 and had 18 rebounds.

Wright was phenomenal in the second quarter. He was much quicker than anyone the Spurs had to guard him and he scored almost at will. He had 17 points in the quarter, including the Bullets' last eight as they outscored the Spurs 14-3 to take a 61-58 halftime lead.

Wright took the 18-foot jumpers when they were there, and if the slightest opening materalized, he took off dwon the lane.

Motta called on Wright when starter Tom Henderson was having trouble in the first quarter and the Bullets were fumbling. Henderson shot one for four and had no assists in the first period.

The Bullets turned the ball over six of their last seven possessions in the quarter, and were lucky to be down only 30-24 going into the second peiol.

The 6-1 rookie hit an 18-footer on his first shot and had the confidence to keep shooting.

A Wright fast break cut the Spurs lead to two points at 57-55, then Wright tipped in a Hayes miss to tie the score with 52 seconds left in the half.

He then stole the ball from Mike Gale and went in for a layup that gave Washington a 59-57 lead.

Mark Olberding made a free throw with 24 seconds left in the half, but the Bullets controlled the ball until two seconds remained when Wright drilled in another 18-footer.

He made seven of eight shots in those 12 minutes and the Bullets enjoyed a 61-58 halftime lead.

The second half belonged to Gervin.

Gervin, going one-on-one against Henderson, Phil Chenier or whomever the Bullets put on him, scored nine points in the third quarter.

His three-point play put the Spurs up, 68-67, midway through the period and they went on to take an 88-84 lead into the final quarter.

The Bullets cut it to 96-95 on Leonard Gray layup early in the last quarter, but Allan Bristow and Gervin hit back-to-back baskets and the Bullets wilted.

"I was kind of cherry-picking," Gervin said of his 13-for-17 night. "They'd put a shot up and I'd take off. Fortunately, we got the rebounds, my team-mates found me and I just ran on down and dunked the ball."

Even when he wasn't sneaking off early, Gervin was still causing the Bullets trouble.