One fact bestrode all others in Capital Centre last night: what won for the Bullets in game one of the playoffs helped lose game two. He Atlanta Hawks showed them basketball remains a team sport.
As usual, Bobby Dandrige was exquisite, quicker and more fluid than anyone the Hawks used against him. As usual, the Bullets went to him too often. Sunday they had been lulled into false confidence he could carry the centre offense.
So when a flock of Hawks came at Dandridge during the important moments last night, most of the other Bullers fired blanks. And some of the clawless Hawks of Sunday gained some of the sweetest revenge imaginable.
Some of the Bullet fans chose to lose their heads over three calls that favored the Hawks in the final six minutes, pepperin the officials with cups and abuse as they hurried to their dressing room.
But at least the closest official made the calls that sent Elvin Hayes to the bench with his sixth foul, on an off-the-ball hip by Dandridge and one against Mitch Kupchak that did jolt the senses.
For a good portion of the game, the idea seemed for the man farthest from the ball-at least with the poorest angle-to blow his whistle. And Hayes leaving the game with 6:39 left did not seem all that bad.
He had been on the floor, but hardly in the game.
The E of game one, who scored 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, melted into e, unsure of himself but still intent on shooting when it was obvious his favorite turnaround might miss even the rim.
Hayes missed 12 of 17 shots. And when the Hawks made him dribble he was often helpless, once unable to hit the wide-open Dandridge six feet from him during a triple team.
But he was not the only Bullet who seemed to believe all that was necessary to flick aside Altanta was a fourth-quarter spurt-like Sunday's. Let Bobby D. go solo on whichever Hawk had not fouled out and watch John Drew and Terry Fulow send small iron filings toward the floor with their bricks.
Not this night. The Bullets were a pathetic four for 14 from the field, saw every loose ball gobbled up by Atlanta and watched Tree Rollins block every shot that did not scrape the roof.
While knowing the Bullets had a scolding coming from Coach Dick Motta, it was impossible not to celebrate some of the Hawks, especially Drew, Dan Roundfield and Furlow.
Drew still was a long-distance all from Dandridge most of the game. It was a wonder he even was alive at the end, having bounced off Wes Unseld and Hayes so often in the first half.
And it is whispered that the best defense against the Hawks late in the game is to allow Drew an open jumper, that his lavish offensive numbers come well before the final moments of tight games.
So Drew hit three significant jumpers late-plus the stuff that sent the Bullets kicking themselves for earlier sins. Furlow showed the Hawks spirit in the final 39 seconds, when Kevin Grevey smacked him with a forearm to the chest.
Fulow curied his fist-and seemed about to send it toward Dandridge a second or so later. And when the officials tried to calm him, Furlow shouted: "Don't grab me."
The Hawks are the essence of hustle-and they play within themslves. They know who can score and work tirelessly for that to happen.
While a Bullets often would toss up the first somewhat open shot, a Roundfield would catch the ball 20 feet or so from the basket, pass it to somebody else and then set a pick for a fine outside shooter, Tom McMillen, to score.
The winner of this game was supposed to be the team that adjusted best, the one that could counter the moves two fine coaches would order. Huble Brown's final defensive move against Dandridge was inspired.
Drew and Jack Givens had been almost invisible against Dandridge for the second straight game.So Brown sent the taller Roundfield to chase Dandridge.
Roundfield is best remembering for back-to-back stuffs of Hayes on Sunday. Dandridge scored against Roundfield, of course, but not as regularly. At times, he almost resembled a mortal player.
What this did was expose a weaker player among the other Washington inside men, Hayes, Mithc Kupchak and Useld. While Unseld worked for six baskets, he shot just 11 times. Kupchak was tow for seven, some of the misses coming when he had open baseline jumpers against the smaller Drew.
The Hawks controlled the game's tempo and left the Bullets asking themselves if anyone could hit a jump shot in the fourth quarter. n Atlanta forced a guard's game-and won. The lesson for the Bullets became more obvious as the game progressed. In the NBA, it takes more than one Bullets to kill a Hawk. CAPTION: Picture, Wes Unseld (41) of Bullets goes high against John Drew of Hawks in backboard battle, with Bobby Dandridge waiting at right. Unseld led all players last night with 10 rebounds. By Richard Darcy - The Washington Post