The Washington Bullets and the Chuck Taylor All-Stars experienced something yesterday that was unusual to the 90-year-old sport of basketball.
After being tied, 139-139, after a five-minute overtime period of an Urban Coalition Senior Division battle, the two teams - laden with NBA and NCAA telent - were forced to decide the heated contest in a sudden-death overtime.
The policy of playing a sudden-death period after one overtime was adopted many years ago, according to James Wiggins, the Coalition chairman. He said the rule was instituted so the fans and players would not get tired or restless. Neither he or any observers or players could remember the last time a game was decided in such a manner.
The All-Stars' Charles Bradley tipped in the only basket needed to defeat the Bullets, 141-139, after 15 seconds of the "first-team-to-score-wins" session.
The 6-foot-5 Bradley, who led his team with 31 points, got the winning bucket off a missed jumper by his brother Dudley, the defensive-specialist guard, formerly of the University of North Carolina.
The two teams battled on a Tartan surface gymnasium floor at Gonzaga High School that was so slippery the players literally had to tiptoe down the court the last eight minutes of the game.
Roger Phegley and Dave Corzine led the Bullets with 41 and 26 points, respectively, and Phil Chenier bombed in 25. The Bullets (only draft choices, first-year players and injured players) are only 4-4 in summer league competition.
In the first overtime, the Bullets were working their offense off familiar set plays but every time they tried to execute, someone - usually Corzine - slipped hard on the moist floor.
At one point, Chenier worked the ball into Corzine, who made a beautiful spinning move through the lane only to shoot his layup from a supine position. "We know what we're supposed to do," said a dejected Corzine to Coach Reds Gaither, "but we can't move to execute the plays properly."
The All-Stars didn't fare any better in the footing war. John Lucas, Adrian Dantley and Tracy Jackson all took their spills.
"#Man, this is the worst floor I've ever seen," said Los Angeles Laker Dantley. "You can't drive the lanes, cut stop or anything."
Gaither said he and Taylor, coach of the All-Stars, considered taking the teams off the floor at the end of the first overtime to avoid serious injury but played the entire game because "we owed it to the fans."
"I couldn't very well ask the guys to execute set plays with the conditions they were under out there," Gaither added.
Oddly enough, the star of the game was not game-high scorer Phegley, Lucas or any big-name player, but Charles Bradley, the junior guard for the University of Wyoming, who insists there is little competition between himself and brother Dudley.
"He's better than me," Charles said. "That usually takes care of the competition."