Elvin Hayes said yesterday that the Bullets won't win the NBA championship series if "we don't execute our offense better and maintain our composure from the coaches on down better" then the team did in the fourth quarter of the opening game Sunday.
"We gave them a gift," Hayes said about the Bullets' 106-102 loss to Seattle. "There was no excuse to lose that basketball game.
"I still think we have a better basketbell team and we'll win the series. But you don't wake a sleeping giant. We had them where we wanted them and we still lost."
Hayes was referring to the Bullets' 19-point third-quarter lead, which Seattle erased with the help of a 19-2 spurt that ended midway through the fourth period.
During that span, Hayes and forward Bobby Dandridge, the team's leading scorers during the playoffs, took only one shot apiece. Hayes wound up scoring only two of his 21 points for the game, was shut out.
Hayes said he thought the Bullets waited in the end because:
"We didn't take advantage of Paul Silas sagging on me. All we had to do was get the ball into Wes (Unseld) at the high post and let him pass it onto me."
"We have to get the ball inside to Bobby and me if we are going to execute our offense correctly under pressure. The guards can't take all the shots. If they do, Fred Brown and their guards are going to take off and try for fast breaks."
"We didn't call enough timeouts to stop their momentum. There seemed to be something lost between the bench and the game. When their guards start hitting outside like that and throwing stuff in, you've got to slow them down and say, 'That's enough.'"
Hayes was also miffed that he was removed for just less than two minutes early in the fourth quarter when the Bullets were still leading by nine points.
"I want to play, I want to be in the game," he said. "I can rest anywhere all summer long. There ain't no more tomorrows. I want this championship now. I'm not going to get tired.
"I wanted to work on Silas. When he's fronting me, he's conceding that if I get the basketball, I'm going to score. There is no way we should let him do that. He's fearful of me getting the basketball.
"Some people are saying I didn't work hard enough to get the basketball. But that is wrong. I was open and if I get the ball, I'm going to score," [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]
Coach Dick Motta shrugged off Hayes' comments, saying that he agreed with his veteran forward about the lack of offensive execution "at times" but added: "I think we got in inside enough. When you get it inside, you have to put up the shots.
"I called timeouts and made substitutions to try to stop Seattle. But when you don't shoot well, nothing is going to work." The Bullets made only one of 11 shots during Seattle's run.
Motta called one timeout right after the Sonics began their comeback late in the third quarter. There was also the break between the periods. And he made seven substitutions during the 5:50 duration of the spurt.
He said he took out Hayes "as I always do, at the beginning of the fourth period. We didn't lose the game because he was out two minutes. The flow already had changed and he wasn't doing much anyway.
"I'm more concerned that we don't get too down on ourselves. We can't start bickering and having words. We had them beat, but it was too easy too early."
Motta and his players will review Seattle's late-game defensive strategy today during practice. The Sonics fronted Hayes and sagged everyone else inside, cutting off any drives while double-teaming the ball. The tactics were so effective that Bullet guards tried the team's final eight shots and 16 of its last 23.
"They didn't do anything different than we've seen in 60 other games this year," Motta said. "People have been looking for ways to stop our forwards for 105 games now. We have ways in our offense to beat the sag and we just have to utilize them better.
"I look at what happened to Bobby as just a bad game. He might not have another one like that in his career. But I'll tell you this. Hayes and Dandridge got us here. If they are taken out of it like that again, it's going to be a short series."
During the playoffs, Dandridge has averaged 24 points in the Bullet victories and 13 in their losses. The two forwards have combined for 49.5 points in the wins and 30.8 in the losses.
"I got my shots, the ones I want," said Dandridge about the guarding of John Johnson, who also added 18 points. "If I get those the rest of the series, I'll be happy, because they aren't going to miss all the time."
Dandridge made only three of 12 shots. In the second half, he acknowledged he was bothered by the Sonics' double-teaming when he tried to drive to the basket.
"I guess I'll have to do what I did against Philadelphia and work more outside and let Elvin have the inside," he said. "It will be less congested that way. They were helping out real well every time we tried to penetrate nad it's stupid to fight that.
"They also did the best job so far of any team we've played in cutting off the pass from me or Elvin inside to a guard outside. They put someone in between to stop it. We have to adjust to that too."