Bobby Dandridge's brief tensure as bench warmer is over.With the Bullets in the throes of a two-game losing streak, Coach Dick Motta has decided to start the veteran forward tonight against the Golden State Warriors.
"It's time and he's ready," said Motta. "He asked for extra minutes against Seattle (Wednesday night) to get in better condition.
"It's no knocj on Greg (Ballard). But Bobby is our forward, always has been. It was just a matter of him getting into proper condition."
Motta has not been happy with the way his team has played so far on this West Coast road trip. "I don't know what the matter is, but we are not hustling and we are not reacting. Maybe we are too fat and sassy because of how we started off the season."
Sfter winning their first four games on the strength of accurate shooting, the Bullets have had a popgun attack in losing to both Portland and Seattle. In the Bullets' embarrassing 29-point loss (121-92) to the Sonics Wednesday night, Motta was furious over their inability to run the offense properly and failure to hustle after loose balls.
Dandridge missed all but the last week of training camp because of a holdout over contract problems. He has been working out now for three weeks, which he indicated would be enough time for him to improve his conditioning.
"I'm getting in better shape everday," Dandridge said. "I still am not where I want to be, but it will take me until probably January to get in proper shape."
By going with Dandridge, Motta hopes to stabilize his offense and give Elvin Hayes, who is off to a slow start, a needed lift. Hayes enjoys playing with Dandridge and feels the team's attack works beeter with both of them as forwards.
=We haven't been doing the things we need to do to win," said Dandridge. "It is a matter of going back to the drawing board and starting all over in reviewing how our offense os supposed to work."
Motta held that review session yesterday during a late-afternoon practice , Washington's first in six days. during the workout, he emphasized to the players the need for them to start executing plays and cut down on free-lancing.
Dandridge, who has been starting in the second half in place of Ballerd, has been perhaps the steadiest Bullet this year besides Mitch Kupchak. Dandridge is averaging 14 points and shooting 47 percent, while playing only 25 minutes a game, about 10 fewer than he normally would be used.
Hayes, however, has usually poor statistics. He is scoring at a 13-point clip while shooting only 4 percent. Motta readily admits "he has to play well if we are going to play well. That's been proven. He just isn't into his game yet."
But Hayes says no one should worry about how he will play in tonight's 11:30 (EDT) game. "I'm sure," he said, "people are wondering what's wrong with me, why I'm not scoring. They shouldn't worry about me, I'll be okay."
Hayes said that the Bullets will be all right once they settle into "a rhythm for the seasons. Fight now, the season is young and everyone is scoring. But soon we will realize that our offense works best when the ball goes inside. If Booby and I can't get 20 shots a game, things aren't working right.
"I'm a rhythm player and this is a rhythm team and right now we aren't in a rhythm. This happened to me last year. I didn't start well and I still think I finished up okay."
If Hayes were the Bullets' only struggling player at the moment, Motta probably would not be as upset about their play. But another of his major offensive weapons, guard Kevin Grevey, also is misfiring. His statistics are just slightly better than Hayes (14 points and shooting 39 percent) and with both players malfunctioning, the Bullet offense is consistently breaking down.