"They can have the Doctor," said Johnny Johnson, "just give me Downtown Brown."
The Seattle SuperSonics gave the Washington Bullets more of Freddie Brown than they cared to see yesterday as the sharpshooting Sonic captain shot them down in the fourth quarter.
Brown hit two 30-foot set shots, two 25-foot jumpers, two three-point plays and added a driving layup as he capped a 30-point show that left the Bullets mumbling to themselves and one 106-102 game down in the NBA finals.
"Fred Brown is the best shooter you'll ever see," said Johnson. "Today was just natural for him. It was nothing special."
Starting Seattle guard Gus Williams was awful, missing four of five shots and losing the ball six times in 21 minutes, so Seattle Coach Lenny Wilkens used Brown more than usual.
Brown became so tired late in the game that he called one timeout just to catch his breath. "I was so tired I couldn't have taken another shot if I had it."
Trying to bail the Sonics out of a miserable first half, Brown missed eight of his first 13 shots.
"He was anxious in the first half," said Johnson, "but when he calmed down it was all over. That's just Fred Brown, what can I say? We're not surprised by anything he does. His repetoire is heavy, very heavy."
Besides his set shots and jumpers, Brown put a magical move on Elvin Hayes along the baseline midway through the final quarter. Brown drove to his right, faked to his left and then as he cocked his arm to shoot and Hayes coiled his body to try for a block, Brown switched the the ball to his left hand and threw up a soft shot that caught Hayes completely by surprise and went in. "I quick-shot him before he was ready," Brown said. Hayes also fouled him and Brown's free throw tied the score at 91.
Brown's biggest basket came with 14 seconds left when he put in a 25-foot jumper over Larry Wright to give Seattle a 105-102 lead. Brown had missed a similar attempt 16 seconds earlier, but Paul Silas grabbed the long rebound to give him another chance.
"I thought that first shot was going in," Brown said, "but once I saw Paul get his hands on it I knew he'd give it back to me."
Once he got it back, Brown masterfully controlled the ball with his dribble, then turned and shot over the helpless Wright.
"I don't go out with the intention to score a lot of points," Brown said, "but if the situation presents itself, I'm going to take advantage of it.
""We just stayed calm. Even though they were 19 points up on us, they weren't blowing us out, so I knew we could get them."
Wilkens, who somehow kept his team poised when it fell so far behind, said, "The one thing about our club is that we never give up. We got back in the game because we stopped giving up the quick fould and we started making them make their shots.
Where the Bullets were outhinking the Sonics in the first half, the Sonics turned the abelsfatirenretimisswt turned the tables after intermission. Washington had Seattle well scouted, denied the Sonics their devastating transition game and forced them to set up and play a patterned, slow offense.
Seattle does not function well that way and showed it.
In the second half, the Sonics put the defensive clamps on Hayes and Johnny Johnson continued to shut down Bobby Dandridge.
Hayes dominated Seattle rookie Jack Sikma in the first half so Silas guarded him in the second half. Hayes scored only two points in the fourth period and 21 for the game.
And Johnny Johnson, limiting Dandridge to six points and scoring 18, including 16 in the second half, gave the Sonics a strong lift.
"J.J.'s job on Dandridge was the key and consequently I could devote all of my energy to stopping Elvin, and Marvin (Webster) could help both of us," explained Silas.
"I knew that if I could stop Bobby they would be in trouble," Johnson said. "He's got to score for them to win, he's a catalyst. We don't really depend on me to score though. Whatever I get is gravy."
Johnson's defensive strategy was simple. "I just pressured him as much as I could and hoped he'd miss.
It's still hard to conceive that we came back and beat them," Johnson added. "We've come back in a lot of games, but obviously never in one this important."
"I think this game has to hurt Washington's confidence."
Silas put in, "I think they know we are for real now. They know we will never give up. When they come at us, they are going to have to come with all they have the whole game."
Webster who collected 14 rebounds and scored 17 points, said "this game shows that no lead is safe with us; we'll always keep plugging away. We have confidence in ourselves and in our coaches. We have confidence that we will always win, no matter what.
"I don't know how this game will affect the Bullets," he said; but I know it has some effect on them.