The Kansas City Kings ended the Washington Bullets' nine-game winning streak last night by overcoming a 17-point first-half deficit and recording a 110-09 victory at Capital Centre.
The Kings wrapped up the triumph on two Otis Birdsong foul shots with three seconds remaining. Birdsong scored 30 points, 18 in the second half.
The Kings' other guard, rookie Phil Ford, was instrumental in bringing back his club early in the last period, when he scored three straight fast break layups, all by dribbling through the entire Bullet team. Ford had 11 assists and 13 points.
Kevin Grevey had 28 points and Bob Dandridge 21 for the Bullets. Elvin Hayes pulled a neck muscle in the first period and scored only seven points.
The Bullets' amazing first-quarter pattern continued in this game. They raced out to yet another big lead, this time 17 points, and were led by one particularly hot player, this time Grevey, who had 13 points.
Grevey made five of seven shots and helped take advantage of Kansas City mistakes. The Kings committed seven turnovers and Washington converted them into nine points, mostly off fast breaks.
And they jumped to a 35-18 lead without Hayes, who pulled a neck muscle two minutes into the contest. He stuffed a pass from Tom Henderson, and was fouled on the play by Scott Wedman and came away holding his neck.
After a 20-second timeout, he played a few more minutes before leaving for the locker room, where he received heat treatments the rest of the half.
Kansas City cam into the contest leading the Midwest Division thanks to the fastest start in their history. The Kings, who hadn't been in first place since 1974, were fifth in the league in defense.
But their defenders couldn't prevent the Bullts from breaking and Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons finally yanked all but Ford from his lineup near the end of the quarter.
Washington broke away by making eight of 10 shots during a three-minute stretch while Kansas City was missing six attempts. In the 19-4 spurt, Grevey had 11 points.
But the Bullets couldn't continue their 56 percent shooting in the second quarter and were fortunate that the Kings couldn't come closer than 42-38 midway throughout the period. Washington was only two of eight from the field while Kansas City raillied behind Birdsong, who quickly had six points.
A three-point play from Greg Ballard, a 25-footer from Grevey, a Dandridge jumper and another Grevey basket had the margin up to 11 and Washington had a 60-48 intermission lead.
Ballard one again showed his value to the team. With Hayes out, he played 11 minutes in the half and scored five points, had five rebounds and one nifty block.
He scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds in 12 minutes against New Orleans Friday night and had 14 points and 10 rebounds in 23 minutes against the Knicks Tuesday. Dick Motta, making his first appearance since a hee operation Monday, also played Dave Corzine in the first half. It was one of the rookie's earliest appearances of the season.
Grevey finished with 17 points in the first 24 minutes on seven-of-nine accuracy. Unseld had seven rebounds. Birdsong had 12 points for Kansas City.
The Kings didn't waste any time in the third quarter, wiping out all but two points of that 12-point deficit. The Kings went on an 8-0 tear, with Birdsong getting four, and were behind by only two, 64-62, early in the period.
But moments later, the Bullets went on a spurt of their own. Grevey, who was having his problems with Birdsong, got a measure of revenge with three baskets: an 18-footer, a fast-break layup off a nice pass from Henderson and another long jumper.
Unseld's layup and a rebound by Henderson of his own miss and the Bullets were again up by 10, 77-66.
Grevey had 25 points at this juncture, after making 10 of 12 shots. Birdsong was up to 20 points and getting help from Wedman, who scored six points with Dandridge resting on the bench.
The last of those baskets, plus two foul shots from Lacey, had the Kings back to four and a Wedman basket and Ballard foul made it 80-79. But Washington squeezed out an 83-81 lead going into the fourth quarter on a Grevey free throw and a Hayes jumper -- his first field goal since the opening period -- before a Darnell Hillman basket.