Game six of the NBA championship series yesterday was memorable because:
Both teams were happy even though one of them, the Sonics, lost by 35 points.
There were two "fat ladies" in Capital Centre, one of them named Dennis Vala wearing Volkswagen hubcaps for breastpales and a scowl much of the time.
Paul Silas once missed a two-foot shot by five feet.
Larry Wright forgot a Bullet teammate's number.
Kevin Grevey set a playoff record for most cliches in one sentence with "It's do or die for us . . . our backs are against the wall because the chips are on the able."
This was that rare game where the winning team should not get overly enthusiastic and the losers should not get overly depressed, except that Seattle must be at least puzzled by Bobby Dandridge suddenly popping up at guard.
The move was not of the spur-of-the-moment variety of necessity of mother of invention. The Bullets had been considering using Dandridge at guard to keep the Sonics' Dennis Johnson from taking either Larry Wright or Charles Johnson low and shooting at will over them.
But Grevey cannot get through the day without doing harm to at least one limb. During game five Friday in Seattle, Grevey's left wrist was badly sprained in a collision with Jack Sikma, so Dandridge switch came sooner than anticipated.
"This is the worst," Grevey said of his assorted injuries of late, "because I can't dribble or shoot. But it's typical of how my season has gone."
If Grevey cannot play effectively Wednesday in Seattle, Dandridge figures to spend much time at guard - unless Charles Johnson's offense overcomes his defensive problems against DJ, or Greg Ballard plays poorly off the bench.
The championship game of the NBA playoffs hardly is the time for experimentation. But this one has intriguing possibilities, because Dandridge has the capacity to keep DJ from doing what he does best while putting severe pressure on the Sonics in two other ways.
Dandridge has maneuvered for baskets along the baseline against such as the 6-11 Sikma this series. So when Freddy Brown trots off the bench, Dandridge has what amounts to an unmolested turnaround.
And to keep matters from being too clogged inside with so many large Bullets on the court Ballard is comfortable shooting perimeter jump shots.
Also, the Sonics yesterday tried to counter Dandridge at guard by moving their regular small forward, John Johnson, to guard. That is fine for the Bullets, because it means two of the Sonics' trio of excellent guards would be on the bench.
"It also keeps their guards honest," said Bernie Bickerstaff, Bullet assistant coach. "It keeps guys like Brown from jumping into the passing lanes. And we had to get (playing) time for Ballard and Mitch (Kupchak)."
The Bullets are hoping Kupchak - and Larry Wright - were carried out of their slumps by the tide of a rout helped in no small measure by the Sonics' not having to win. In fact, the major question midway through the first quarter was whether either team would wake up.
Coach Dick Motta inserted both players almost as soon as the Bullets' lead drifted past 15 points in the third quarter. When Seattle Coach Lenny Wilkens did not call one of his quick timeouts to counter the tide, it was a silent message that defeat was obvious.
Both Kupchak and Wright have been troubled lately and both offered clues that their confidence is returning. Kupchak was seven for 10 from the field and scored 19 points; Wright was four for seven and even stole an inbound pass.
With 74 seconds left, though, Wright heard Motta yelling "20" from the sideline and called time, believing someone was hurt and the coach wanted a 20-second injury timeout.
In fact, Motta was calling a play, for the seldom-seen Phil Walker. Sophistication in the NBA is such that a play often corresponds to the number of the player it is designed to free. Phil Walker's number is 20. Larry Wright forgot.
And Motta was careful to emphasize to Wilkens immediately after the game that there were no run-up-the-score intentions. With the title game on their home court, the Sonics have enough advantages already.
What was Motta's postgame message?
"Buses," he said. "You don't have to tell these guys anything about basketball after a game like this - and with one like Wednesday's coming up. You just want to make sure nobody misses the bus to the airport."
Naturally, there was a sign nearby. It read: "Don't sing sour in Seattle."