Reprinted from yesterday's late edition.
Don't tell the Chicago Bulls that the red, white and blue tornado that whirled past them last night at Capital Centre has injury problems or was in the midst of a five-game losing streak.
By the time the Bullets had finished destroying them. 135-107, the Bulls must have thought they were playing the second coming of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Even without Mitch Kupchak and Phil Chenier, the Bullets registered their second-highest point total of the season to atone for their flat effort Tuesday night against Detroit, when they were sure they were going to snap out of their losing ways.
Bob Dandridge was the brightest Bullet, scoring 37 points, three short of his career high, but his best output with Washington. He also had seven assists and nine rebounds.
But he had plenty of help. Elvin Hayes added 20 points and 10 rebounds as the forwards gave coach Dick Motta the extra scoring punch he said the club needed to make up for their injuries. Kevin Grevy contributed a career-high 26 points despite a still troublesome hamstring pull and Larry Wright had a career-best 11 assists.
And Joe (Mr. Dunk) Pace, responding to Motta's pleas for more consistency in the wake of Kupchak's absence, dazzled the crowd with five dunks, including a onehanded, reverse slam variety just before the buzzer. He finished with 15 points.
"Joe even showed up today for a voluntary shoot around," said Motta. "I think the big guy is ready to play."
With Tom Henderson playing for the first time since spraining his ankle a week ago. Motta was able to use nine players for a least 15 minutes each. It kept the club fresher and, as Hayes said, "we didn't look like a six-man expansion team any more."
The Bulls, who had trouble getting here because of weather problems, helped a lot with some atrocious floor play and 43 percent shooting in the first half that hardly was enough to offset the Bullets' 55 percent marksmanship.
Chicago also contributed to Washington's cause by putting center Artis Gilmore on Hayes, who took the Bulls' big man away from the basket and let Dandridge maneuver one on one inside. Grevey also took advantage of Gilmore's wanderings to slip in for five offenisve rebounds from his guard spot.
And all Gilmore could add to Chicago's output was 11 points and four rebounds. The Bulls needed a lot more from him in face of the Bullets' onslaught.
"I was getting the ball in a good position down low," said Dandridge, "so I didn't have to force shots. And they didn't bring their center over to double team me so it let me maneuver better. If Arits is in the middle, it cuts down on your inside jump shots."
When Portland put Bill Walton on Hayes two tweks ago, Dandridge also was able to move freely inside for 22 points. "Just like that game, I tried to run Artis as much as I could," said Hayes. "They feel Wes (Unseld) isn't going to shoot, so they try to wear me out with a big man. But we can work the strategy against them."
The Bulls probably will alter that defensive tactic tonight, when the two clubs meet in Chicago (8:30 p.m. EST, WDCA-Channel 20). However, with Chicago closed in with a bizzard, officials of both teams last night felt it was going to be difficult to get a plan into O'Hare Airport.
It also is doubtful that Washington can play that well two nights in a row.
"We needed this one," said Motta amid a happy dressing room. "We haven't laughed at anything in a week. It's been a depression state. We had real good intensity in this one. Everyone was trying to help Charlie Johnston in practice and I think it refreshed them too.