Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Kevin Grevey, who says he picked up confidence this summer playing HORSE against NBA superstars, spared his team, the Bullets, another embarrassing loss last night.
Grevey had 20 points coming off the bench, but otherwise Washington played, in coach Dick Motta's words, "like a junior-high team" at times in squeaking by the Seattle SuperSonics, 111-109, at Capital Centre.
Motta blasted his players in the dressing room afterward, questioning their intensity, devotion and knowledge of fundamentals.
He said he shouldn't have to yell at his players, but he did anyway, asking them. "What's going on? You played like this against Detroit (Sunday night) and then again tonight."
The way the Bullets played was lethargic, careless, inconsistent or all of the above. Motta admitted his team "tried to give it away," but said all the problems will "be corrected."
How long it will take is another matter. Against a struggling opponent (now 4-11), the Bullets trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half and then almost blew an eight-point lead in the final two minutes.
The final minute especially showed Washington as it worst.
Holding a 111-105 lead, the Bullets saw:
Wes Unseld toss a pass out of bounds after Gus Williams hit a jump shot for Seattle.
Both Unseld and Tom Henderson call time-outs when they couldn't in-bound the ball following a basket by Seattle's John Johnson.
Elvin Hayes was called for a three-second violation with two seconds left. But a desperation shot by Williams at the buzzer was not even close.
"To call a three-second violation with two seconds left, well, the ref (Dick Middleton) had to be thinking negative thoughts," said Motta. "But we still tried to give away our third game this season. I guarantee we are going to correct what's going one."
The one plus for Washington was Grevey, who is forcing Motta to play him more at guard by providing the only spark the team is getting.
He scored 14 points in the second quarter as the Bullets cut a 38-25 Seattle advantage to 52-50 at the half. He got the Washington fast break, which has been hibernating since the victory over Philadelphia, revved up and put the Bullets within striking range for the second half.
He was needed again in the fourth period. Washington had gone up, 85-80, but refused to put Seattle away for the knockout. So Grevey quickly scored six points, including a bomb from the right corner, to help the Bullets to a 105-97 advantage.
Then Motta took him out for better ball-handlers and Seattle began its final-minute run.
"I told myself I could play guard and not to do anything I couldn't do," Grevey said. "I've been a good practice player, a good 11 a.m. player, but when it comes to game time, I get tense and I worried about making mistakes and coming out.
"But then I was in that HORSE contest (for this year's NBA television games' halftime show) and I got to the semifinals. I say, 'Hey, I can play with these superstars. Why can't I do it during the season?'"
Grevey certainly is not bashful about shooting. He tried 19 shots, a team high, in just 23 minutes, making 10 of the attempts. He also played nearly errorless ball even when he was filling a playmaker role.
Coupled with another fine effort by Elvin Hayes (22 points 14 rebounds, four blocks, three assists) and 19 points from Bob Dandridge, the Bullets were able to offset Williams' 23 points.
"I just have to keep remembering," said Motta, "that there are 71 games left. That's lots of time to forget about this one."