Freddie Brown was almost alone now, standing in an alcove in Seattle's locker room, taking in what he described as "the best celebration of my life" after his team had won its first NBA championship last night.
The man they call Downtown, the fellow who bombed in seven of 10 shots, the magical streak shooter who had played his entire eight-year career with this team, was in a reflective mood.
He had spent a few minutes slapping hands and hugging all around, even emptying a bottle of champagne on NBA Commissioner Larry O'Brien's head, yelling "fine me, fine me."
"This is it for me," he said now, "it's the greatest seventh heaven, the top. We worked so hard to get here, guys hurt all year, problems you can't believe. But we hung together, and we're the champions.I love it.
"This is what I've strived for every day of my life. It's what every kid on every playground wants. It's wonderful.
"I spent all afternoon in my hotelroom, just flashing back to a lot of years, a lot of friends who aren't here anymore, a lot of people I wish could be a part of this.That's why it means so much.
"I also thought about what I would do. People were saying I was in a slump. But the other guys were playing great, and I wanted to help.
"So I decided to shoot the ball and try to make things happen. I shot it, we all did. We forgot the refs, we played basketball the way it's supposed to be played. We worked so hard for it. You don't know how much it means to me. You just don't know."
Paul Silas, who played on two championship teams with the Boston Celtics, said the Sonics felt confident during the late going.
"When it came down to the pressure situation, we felt that we could do it," Silas said. "They had already given it their best short. Plus, we had to fee confident with them mission (Kevin) Grevey and (Tom) Henderson (who were injured during the game) and Mitch Kupchak (who missed the series with a back ailment)."
Silas said the turning point was when the Sonics pulled ahead by margins of five and six points midway through the final period.
"I thought that if we could maintain the lead then things would fall into place," Silas said. "At that point, we could almost see the defeat in Washington's faces, but they hung in there and even came back (to within two points)."
Silas, who said he would make next season his 16th and final pro campaign, told Sonic Coach Lenny Wilkens what the team had been doing wrong in the first half.
"We were shooting too quick in the first half," Silas said. "In the second half, we slowed it down.It wasn't what they were doing to ourselves."
Seattle also slightly altered its defensive game in the final 24 minutes. It held Washington to 42 points after yielding 51 in the opening half.
"In the second half, we started picking them up higher, making them use a little more time to set up a shot, said series MVP Dennis Johnson.
Lonnie Shelton said that the loss of Henderson with a badly sprained ankle early in the second half spoiled Washington's continuity on offense.
"Henderson is very good at working the ball into Elvin Hayes," Shelton said. "When he left, Elvin didn't get is as much. But they played pretty well without Henderson and grevey, anyway. However, we thought we Wright and Charles Johnson)."
One Sonic who was relieved at the series' conclusion was small forward John Johnson.
"I'm glad it's over," he said. "Walter Davis, then Bobby Dandridge . . . it's tough."
Johnson did a good job as the principal Sonic assigned to cover Dandridge. He limited the Bullet forward to 43 percent shooting, after Dandridge had finished the regular season at 50 percent and 53 percent in four of those game against Seattle.