It looked more like a pick-up game on the Washington, D.C., playground instead of a Los Angeles Laker practice. Everywhere you turned, there were familiar faces.
Brad Davis, with blond hair almost to his shoulders and a short blond beard, was at guard. Kenny Carr was at one forward, guarding former De Matha High teammate Adrian Dantley.
That match-up was particularly interesting. Carr has played in Dantley's shadow since high school. He got a share of the spotlight for himself by going to North Carolina State instead of Dantleys' Notre Dame, but Dantley was with him on the Olympic team and now again in the pros.
Dantley's presence on the Lakers is costing Carr playing time. Carr, who broke a foot in a preseason game asn was activated earlier this month, is still not 100 per cent but with the suspension of Kermit Washington, the Lakers would have been forced to play him more. Then Dantley came in a trade from Indiana and Carr again was searching for minutes.
"My foot is sore and I'm still getting into condition," said Carr today, "but I'm not discouraged. I picture myself as a great player and as long as I stay confident, things will work out."
Daivs, like carr a first-round Laker draft choice in June, is recovering from a broken hand. He is expected back as soon as next week, which means tht either Ernie DiGregorio or Don Chaney will be dropped.
Best bet is DiGregorio, who asked his teammates last week if they had heard the latest trade: "Me for a doughnut and a cup of coffee."
Dantley couldn't be happier. He says he's already been assured "by every Laker official I could ask" that he won't be traded again.
"I'm going to buy a house," he said, "and maybe I should write a book. Five coaches and three teams in a year that's a lot of moving around!"
Dantley's mother and aunt have aranged to have his personal possessions shipped from Indiana so he can spend time learning the Laker offense, which coach Jerry West says will be expanded to include some play for his new forward.
"I feel good here and I've adjusted real fast," Dantley said. "But that's not hard when you've got a 7-4 center (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) helping you."
West also hopes Dantley's presence will help Jamaal Wilkes, the Lakers' 275,000 offseason acquisition, who was not played well. "He has to loosen up more," said West.
West, who is under pressure from owner Jack Kent Cooke, admits that if the Lakes don't start winning now, "They should fire me."
The team figures it will take 45 victories to get into the playoffs. Which means the Lakers have to play better than .600 basketball the rest of the way. Considering the balance in the league, they may be able to win a few less, maybe 42, and still get in, although they won't have a home-court advantage. Their fate - and possibly even West's future - may be determined the next two weeks, when they play 11 of 12 games on the road.