Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Now that the Bullets have found out how much fun it is to win on the road in the NBA, they don't want to stop doing it.
Tonight, they extended their overall winning streak to four games by overwhelming the Buffalo Braves, 114-97, for their third victory in their latest four road contests.
For a club that began the year by losing four straight away games, this victory was especially sweet. The Braves had lost only twice in eight games at home and were coming off a triumph over the Boston Celtics.
About the only thing that went wrong for Washington was a second-period leg injury to center Wes Unseld. Unseld felt something pull in his right calf and he left the contest. The injury was diagnosed as a torn muscle and he is doubtful for Tuesday night's game against Denver in Capital Centre.
With Unseld on the sidelines, the Bullet fast break took off in the third period, when Washington outscored Buffalo, 39-20 to open to a 36-64 lead.
Kevin Grevey had 11 points and Mitch Kupchas, playing for Unseld, had 10 in that quarter. The Bullets outrebounded Buffalo, 15-4, and shot 59 per cent.
"We'll go with Mitch at center if Wes can't play," said coach Dick Motta. "Now I'm also glad that we've given minutes to Joe Pace the last few games. He'll be Mitch's backup and he has to be more confident now."
Kupchak finished with 21 points and Grevey and Tom Henderson added 19 apiece. Motta used nine players in the first half.
The Bullets also did a fine defensive job on the Brave's two top scorers. Billy Knight and Randy Smith. They totalled only 25 points, 24 below their combined season average.
"They run a lot of picks down low to free each other," said Dandridge about the Braves' scoring duo. "But we did a lot of good switching to help each other. And we shut down their running game. Knight likes to score off the break and we didn't let him do that very much."
Henderson blanketed Smith so well that twice he stole the ball from him on dribbles. Henderson also sank nine of 10 shots and had seven assists on the heels of a 22-point, seven-assist game against Kansas City Saturday night.
"I look for assists first but some nights I have to so some shooting," said Henderson. "It helps sometimes to make things happen."
Motta is pairing his four guards, starting Henderson and Grevey and then coming in with Phil Chenier and Larry Wright. Since going to that system two games ago, he says the team "has been able to match up better in the backcourt. We've got a big and small guard in there everytime and we've got the right men on the right opponents.
"Tommy especially is in a groove right now. He's so comfortable and he feels he can do the job. And it shows."
With Henderson running the show in the third period, the Bullets ran seven fast breaks, including three straight at the end of the quarter. All resulted in baskets.
Buffalo coach Cotton Fitzsimmons was so disgusted by this demonstration that he pulled his first team and played the fourth quarter with substitutes. By then the outcome of the game had been determined.
The Bullets began the third period ahead by three and led by eight four minutes later. But Grevey hit a three-point play off a driving layup to get things rolling and Washington ran off six more quick points, four by Kupchak.
Add their quarter-ending spurt and the Bullets found themselves sitting on a 22-point lead. They wound up dominating every statistic including having 14 more rebounds.
The Bullets were happy to get an easy game. "With Denver coming up, it was good we could rest people and not have a lot of pressure," said Elvin Hayes, hampered by a sore small finger. "When we run like this, we play better and things fall into place.
"You could see how it affected Buffalo. They got depressed out there. When they did, they just stopped playing. That made our job a "lot easier."