Earlier this week, Bobby Dandridge talked about how too many Bullets seemed to be trying too hard to help snap the team out of its losing treak. Now he is repeating the lecture - to himself.
Dandridge has turned in back-to-back performances he admits "are the worst of the year, just when we need good ones."
The first sour effort, against Boston last Friday, didn't have an effect on the game's outcome, but the second, Tuesday night at Golden State, probably cost the Bullets a much-needed victory.
Dandridge scored only six points, making just one of eight shots - and that a 65-footer at the third-quarter buzzer. To make matter worse, he ahd a whopping 11 turnovers, most on the team this year. And he picked up five fouls trying to guard Rick Barry, who wound up with 23 points.
"I certainly didn't help us much the way I played," said Dandridge, one of the more honest players in the league. "The two or three turnovers I made down the stretch were particularly costly."
No one was pointing a finger at Dandridge afterward, since he also has been responsible for at least a handful of victories this season. But his plight illustrates the predicament the Bullets found themselves in as they tried to break a four-game losing streak in Seattle last night.
They can't seem to get their best players to play good games at the same time. If Elvin Hayes and Tom Henderson do well, as they did against Golden State, then Dandridge is off. If Dandridge has a superior night, then Henderson slumps or Kevin Grevey can't shoot well.
"We are at the stage where we need consistent efforts from everyone," gotten much leeway for letdowns."
Without the 28 points a game normally contributed by Mitch Kupchak said Coach Dick Motta. "We haven't and Phil Chenier, Motta especially needs Dandridge and Hayes to at least score their combined average of 36 points. He would prefer at least 40 points from them.
In the team's only two victories in the last 2 1/2 weeks, those two forwards easily exceeded 40 points. In every loss, they've scored fewer.
"Since we've been losing, I've been looking for other things to do to help out," said Dandridge."I got off to a good start against Golden State, and made a few good passes. But then things came apart. The last two games definitely have been my low point. But all I can do is go to Seattle and try to change."
The Warriors won, 105-102, on a jump shot by rookie RIckey Green with 14 seconds to go. The Bullets twice had chances to send the game into overtime, but Dandridge threw away one pass, then couldn't handle another from Wes Unseld.
The loss wasted good efforts by Hayes (25 points, 18 rebounds), Unself (18 rebounds), Grevey (20 points, three assists) and Henderson (24 points, to tie his season high, plus eight assists.)
"At least we hustled and tried," said Motta. "It was our best effort in a while. But we had a chance to tie it and didn't even get off a shot. You can't have that happen."
Another thing happened that Motta said he had seen only once before in 23 years of watching and coaching basketball. Hayes tipped up a rebound but the ball wound up balanced on the back of the rim. A jump ball resulted, which the Bullets lost.
"That just symbolizes what we have been going through," said Motta. "I looked at the ball and said, 'What the heck, what else can happen to us?'"