"Sometimes somebody can stop Gus, and sometimes somebody can stop me. But there's not too many times me and Gus both have bad games."
Washington East is not convinced anybody ever stops either of the Washington West Guards. What is faster than a speeding Bullet? In the NBA, it is a Sonic boom.
Although pro basketball is a team sport, its teams are not created equally. The winners are the teams that best neutralize the opposition's dominant positions while capitalizing on their own strengths.
The Sonics' three-games-to-one advantage in the NBA's championship round is a textbook illustration: Their rather anonymous front court has done well against the Bullet Behemoths - or at least in hazing Elvin - and Gus Williams and Dennis Johnson have run rampant.
Washington's guard troubles are not so much with the offense, for two of them - Kevin Grevey and Larry Wright - are shooting better than Hayes. But it might take a quick cloning, say Grevey's height, Larry Wright's quickness, Charles Johnson's mind and Tom Henderson's occasional intensity, to keep the guards' defense from being offensive.
But Williams and DJ are excellent. And with Fred Brown capable of instant offense off the bench, no guards in basketball complement one another better.
Williams is swift and creative, one of the few little fellows who can drive around Wes Unseld on a fast break. DJ's only seriously flaw is an inclination for incessant pouting."
And Fred's pure, as pure a shooter as anyone," said Wally Walker, himself quite a pure shooter. "Gus creates his own shots lots of times; there's usually no way of stopping him in the open court.
"You'd want to play him to the right more than to the left, but even if you do that he'll usually score. You play his right hand and he'll still beat you.
"And the thing about him (DJ) is that the shooter can't get him off his feet with a head fake. He leaves the floor when he wants to, when he has to, and he has such an explosive leap - and so quick.
"Most leapers have to dip down and spring. He waits, and still gets a piece of the ball."
Williams averaged 19 points and Johnson nearly 16 during the regular season. Against the Bullets, they were averaging 28 and 20, respectively, before Williams scored 36 and Johnson 32 during the Sonics' overtime victory Tuesday.
If Williams is not scoring layups off fast breaks or popping tough jumpers from long range, DJ is faking one way and bursting free the other for layups or scoring on turn arounds on Grevey or poor, undersized CJ.
"I'm bigger than him (CJ)," DJ said. "I won't say I'm stronger. But when I go low, we either can lob the ball over him, if he fronts me, or I can post him, if he doesn't. Either one or the other.
"How would I stop me?" DJ leaned against his locker, an ice pack on his right knee and a smile starting to form. "That might be hard.
"If you're gonna stop me, you'll have to back off me. I'm adequate from the outside. But some nights it goes and some nights it doesn't. I'd make me shoot outside."
Of all the excellent players in the NBA, DJ probably has come the farthest the quickest. He dropped out of school for a year, working as a forklift operator in a warehouse, and had no national reputation at Pepperdine.
But when the Sonics chose him on the second round of the 1976 draft, the Los Angeles Lakers squealed. They either did not realize anyone else recognized his potential or failed to realize anyone else would try to draft him.
That was after the Sonics had been beaten in the playoffs by guard dominant Phoenix. To bolster a guard corps that included Slick Watts and Brown, they drafted Indiana's 6-foot-7 Bobby Wilkerson in the first round and DJ as the second pick of the second round.
Wilkerson later helped bring Marvin Webster to Seattle. And the league allowed the Sonics to sign the 6-4 DJ, public relations director Rick Welts said, because the Laker fuss came too late. In his third season this year, he average nearly five rebounds in addition to his scoring and led the team in blocked shots.
"When Gus is going well," DJ said, "he opens up a lot of other things for the rest of us. He passes off well. I was surprised their guards shot so much early (Grevey and Henderson took 13 of the Bullet's first 15 shots) and Tom was one for 10 and Grevey three for nine at halftime.
"But they'd taken some abuse; it was only natural for them to fire more. And they did get into the offense; that made the Bullets a lot better, a lot stronger."
DJ said he partially blocked the final Bullet shot in overtime, a 25 footer by Grevey, after fighting through several defenders. He was credited with four blocked shots, one fewer than cohero Jack Sikma.
"Three-to-one, with great possibilities," he said, clapping his hands. He was reminded that the Sonics had a 3-2 lead against the Bullets last year, but were blown out in Washington and then lost Game 7 back in Seattle. In Game 7, DJ missed all 14 field-goal tries.
Also, the Bullets were down 3-1 to San Antonio in the Eastern Conference championship this year - and won the series.
"We're not the Spurs," DJ snapped. "We don't get all the publicity, but the Spurs are weak defensively. Not that they're just any ol' team. And this year everybody remembers losin' by 35 (117-82) in Washington.
"This time when they tip off (Friday night in Capital Centre) you'll see everything that happened out here tonight - and probably a little better." CAPTION: Picture 1, Bob Dandridge (left) is hot over Bob Rakel's foul call; Picture 2, Elvin Hayes walks dejectedly to Bullet bench after fouling out; Picture 3, Coach Dick complains after game about lack of foul calls on Sonics in late going.; Picture 4, Dennis Johnson