Bullet Coach Dick Motta was so angry the veins in his neck were sticking out and his face was red.
"You're playing barnyward basketball," he screamed at his players during the timeout. "Run the plays. Stop free-lancing. Do what you are supposed to."
What Motta wanted his team to do was exploit a weakness in San Antonio's overplaying, double-teaming defense. The Spurs were so aggressive yesterday that they were leaving some Bullets wide open while they relentlessly followed the path of the ball.
"You have to take second options and third options on plays against them," said Elvin Hayes. "Their defense is designed to take care of the first option. We were taking advantage of it in the first half but in the second we stopped going to it."
In this matchup between Washington's Bulk and inside strength and San Antonio's quickness and finesse, the Bullets have to shoot well and move the ball enough to find the players the Spurs leave open.To accomplish those goals, they have to execute their offense properly.
"We have to outscore them," said Motta. "We can play good defense against them but they have so many fine shooters, they are goind to get their points. But we have to hit our open shots and take advantage of what they give us."
In the opening half, the Bullets produced nine wide-open layups with their offense, including six off passes from Hayes. The result was a 49-48 lead despite 40 percent shooting. But in the second, they played what Motta labeled "barnyard basketball" and got involved in a quick-paced contest with the Spurs that led to their downfall.
"We could get 40 layups a game if we ran things right," said Motta.
"We've got to be smart out there."
Motta wasn't as concerned about giving up 35 points to George Gervin. "If they are going to got to him exclusively, like they did in the second half," he said, "then we aren't going to keep him from scoring much less than 35.
"What we have to do is stop people like (Larry) Kenon from scoring 22, which is too much if we want to win.
"We got some good shots, but we couldn't even put in tap-ins. You can't shoot 39 percent against this club and beat them."
San Antonio Coach Doug Moe maintained that his club's defense, which frequently forced Washington to begin its plays almost at halfcourt, forced such poor marksmanship.
"They couldn't do anything they wanted to," he said. "All they got were a lot of offensive rebounds.
"People say we are bad defensively, but let them. I know different. We've been playing defense like this for the last half of the year.
Gervin, who has earned a reputation as a poor defensive player, was especially effective against Kevin Grevey, who hardly had any easy shots among his 20 attempts. He made only six and scored 14 points.
"It's hard for him to put it in with a picket fence in his face," said Gervin. "He can shoot the round ball but he better come prepared for a tough game, because he's going to have to work hard for his shots."
Grevey agreed. "I'm trying not to think about what he does at the other end," said Grevey, "because then it becomes a matter of you trying to match him. That's not good for the team. It's no disgrace to give up 35 points to him. Hell, he led the NBA in scoring."