For former Bullets Kevin Porter and Louie Nelson, basketball heaven has to be located right now in Piscataway, N.J.
Both have a new lease on their pro careers since joining the lowly New Jersey Nets, who play in a college gym at Rutgers University and may wonder sometimes where their next paycheck is coming from.
But Porter and Nelson are just happy to be playing anywhere at this stage of the season. Porter had been exiled to the end of the Detroit Piston bench and Nelson had been out of basketball before the Nets obtained their services in a continuing attempt to salvage something out of this so-iar dismal year.
Porter has been sensational since coming over from the Pistons and Nelson scored 22 points Friday night in his first game with the club when the Nets beat Kansas City for their fourth victory of the season.
Thanks to that triumph, the Nets will be carrying a winning streak of one into today's 2 p.m. meeting with the Bullets at Capital Centre. They last won back-to-back games in February.
The last time the Bullets played the Nets, the New Jersey club was a sorry conglomeration of athletes who were blown off the Rutgers court by the Washington reserves in an exhibition game.
Since then, the Nets have sprinkled their four victories among 22 defeats, a display of ineptitude that threatens the very life of the franchise.
The Nets management denies that it is on the brink of going out of business. A few small investors have bought stock in the club, bringing in much-needed cash, and team president Roy Boe is negotiating with a New Jersey truck magnate to purchase a sizeable chunk of the team.
But the Nets' on-court performance has done little to attract the New Jersey populace. The average attendance at home games is less than 5,000, and most of the fans have been lured in by Boston and Philadelphia.
The only positive factors amid this chaotic situation have been the play of Porter and rookie Bernard King, the league's No. 8 scorer with a 24-point average.
Porter, who feuded with Pison coach Hubie Brown and wanted to be traded for two years, has shown a new aspect of his game since joining the Nets 18 games ago.
Always a flashy playmaker, he now has turned scorer. He had 40 points against Milwaukee and 35 against Los Angeles and was averaging 18 points a game until scoring only two against Kansas City Friday night.
And just to show he hasn't lost his passing touch, he picked up 20 assists against San Antonio, an NBA high this year. He is averaging 10 assists a game as a Net and eight overall this season, second in the league.
Porter has been trying to prove a point - that he still could play in the NBA - since arriving in Piscataway. No one has ever doubted his intensity, but Brown felt that Porter no longer was capable of holding his own against the bigger stronger guards in the league.
"Kevin Porter has been the quarterback we've needed the whole year," said Net coach Kevin Loughery. "He's been an inspirational leader. He has done everything we've wanted."
Lougherty is teaming former Boston College player Bob Carrington in the backcourt with Porter. Carrington has made a successful switch from forward to guard, where he has averaged 16 points in 11 games, much like Kevin Grevey of the Bullets.
Nelson began the season with Kansas City and was released last month. He started his pro career with Washington after being drafted in 1973 from the University of Washington. He since has made stops in New Orleans, San Antonio, Detroit and Kansas City.
Another familiar Washington-area player, Ed Jordan will join the Net's Monday. Jordan, a former star at Rutgers,was releaded Friday by Cleveland and picked up by New Jersey.
The Bullets, who have won 11 of their last 13 and seven of their eight, have one more home game against Golden State Tuesday, before leaving on a West Coast trip . . ."It's important for us to have a good cushion before we start the trip," said Elwin Hayes . . .Larry Wright sprained an ankle in Friday night's victory over New Orleans, but said he felt he could play today . . .New Jersey's other victories this year have been over Chicago, Seattle and Boston.