Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The Bullets, hungry for a victory, dined well Thursday night on Buffalo stew.
The ingredients consist of a lot of inept play from the Buffalo Braves, outstanding efforts from the likes of Bob Dandridge, Elvin Hayes and Kevin Gresvey and lots of home cooking.
"Being home, that's the answer," said Larry Wright after Washington romped to a 123-109 victory at Capitol Centre, where the Bullets hadn't played in almost it that does weeks. "There is something about it that does wonders."
It also helped to be playing Buffalo, which gave a good example of why it has one of the NBA's worst road records (4-21).
All the first quarter, the Braves lost the Ball eeight times, let Wes Unseld try his hand as the playmaking guard on a fast break and did their best hustling going back to the bench for timeouta.
That was enough to help the hot-shooting Bullets (65 percent) race to a 36-22 lead that all but wrapped up their fourth victory in the last 15 games. Later, the lead grew as large as 29 points.
And don't tell Coach Dickn Motta that this midweek triumph was just another game. "No sir, not by a long shot," he said to no one in particular. "It is my team it was as important as any we willplay the rest of the season.
"Why? Because we lose it and heaven knowd what will happen. We come off a 1-6 round trip and we better win one to get ourselves strightened out."
What the Bullets feared was losing this one and then having to travel to Indiana tonight for yet anotherroad game.
Beating Buffalo had its ironies. The Braves handd the Bullets a 130-93 defeat their worst in almost two years) Jan. 14, starting Washington's downfall from the first place in the Centrak divisio.
This game was almost a complete reversal of that mismatch. Everything that went right for the Braves a month ago went wrong last night. Buffalo got only 14 points each from leading scorers Billy Knight and Randy Smith, and the bench was equally unproductive.
The Bullets, meanwhile, were giving a clinic in team basketball, especially in the first half. They had 17 assissts in the opening 24 minutes, passing up decent shots in order to feed more widopen teammates.
Hayes had 15 points and Dandridge 14 at intermission before winding up with 25 and 22 for the night. But more important for Motta, Grevey and Tom Henderson combined for 32 points and his bench contributed more than has been the case lately.
And Unseld, whose gimpy knee isn't restricting his play, turned in what well might be his best all around showing of the season. He had 14 points (seven of 11 shots), 17 rebounds, six assists and two steals.
The best illustration of how the Bullets played came at the end of the half. Henderson started a fast break and passed to Hayes down the left side. Hayes tossed cross-court to Dandridge, who had an open layup. But he ignored the opportunity and returned the pass to Hayes, whose stuff gave Washington a 67-42 lead.
Motta said anyone coming up with the answer to why any NBA team plays better at home than on the road "would make a million dollars."
Grevey offered one theory.
"There is pressure to win at home," he said. "You aren't expected to win on the road. You try to stay in the game and give it your best and hope you can win, but at home it's different.
You aren't espected to win."