Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The Washington Bullets looked like a ragtag bunch of amatuers Thursday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers and coach Dick Motta let them know about it.
The Bullets stood around and watched a lot as the Cavaliers, not one of the league's better teams, frolicked to an easy 110-93 victory at the Coliseum.
Motta kept the Bullets dressing room closed for 30 minutes, 20 minutes beyond what the league allows, and had what he called "a discussion" with his team, which now has lost 11 of 13 games on the road.
"I'm more confused than upset," Motta said. "We didn't have any enthusiasm, no killer instinct. We just didn't play very hard. We had a meeting and we talked about it, What we talked about is private. That's my right. I only have about one meeting like this every three years.
"From start to finish this was one of our most lackluster performances."
One reason for this was the dominance of Elmore Smith. the 7-foot Cleveland center scored a season-high 32 points, grabbed a season-high 24 rebounds and looked like a young Wilt Chamberlain, doing as he pleased.
"When he is on, Elmore is awesome," Motta said.
"I was on when I got here," said Smith, who scored 19 points and had 16 rebounds in the first half as Cleveland moved to a 51-38 lead.
The 38 points is the fewest the Bullets have scored in a half all season and the 93 matches a season low.
It is one of those nights when the Bullets made the Cavaliers, who are having their troubles, too, look good. Once one of the best patterned-offense teams in the league, the Cavaliers now go one-to-one a lot and like to stand around and throw up jump shots.
Smith, who played for Buffalo, Los Angeles and Milwaukee in his six-year career before coming to Cleveland, became a starter just seven games ago.
Coach Bill Fitch benched forward Jim Brewer, moved 6-11 center Jim Chones to forward and put Smith into the starting lineup.
In his six starts before last night, Smith had averaged 16.1 points and 10.7 rebounds.
The Cavaliers now play a double low post with Smith back on the left side and Chones deep on the right.
Once Smith began to score, the Cavaliers kept going to him and there was little the Bullets could do to stop him.
Washington started 6-7 Wes Unseld on Smith but the Cavalier center continually backed in and shot a short turnaround jumper over Unseld. Whenever that move was stopped, Smith would turn toward the middle and either drive or shoot a jump shot.
After awhile, Motta went to 6-10 Joe Pace to try and offset Smith. Pace held his own much of the time, but the damage already had been done.
In 17 minutes, Pace made eight of 12 shots and scored a career-high 18 points.
Smith went into the game with a severe headache, but still played 47 minutes.
"I could get the ball whenever and wherever I wanted it most of the time," he said. "He (Unseld) put a little bit more pressure on me in the second half."
"Just about all you can do is lean on him," Unseld said, "because he is so big and so strong."
"I don't know what's wrong with us," the Bullets captain continued. "Something just isn't in the game, our minds, our bodies or something."
The Bullets will play the Celtics in Boston tonight in a 7:30 televised game (WDCA-TV-20).