The Washington Bullets began their 1979-80 National Basketball Association season against the Philadelphia 76ers Friday, Oct. 12, at Capital Centre.

In an attempt to shorten the NBA season, to add more excitement to the conference races and cut the horrendous amount of travel, the league has gone to a new schedule format this season.

A team will now play other teams within its conference six times and those in the other conference only twice -- once at home and once on the road.

Ever since the NBA merged with the old American Basketball Association in 1976, the schedule called for each team to play each other team four times, regardless of conference.

The 1979-80 82-game Bullet regular-season schedule will also start one day earlier than it did a year ago and end eight days earlier.

The final month of the season will be devoted to intraconference play.

As an extra attraction for Bullet fans, the league All-Star Game will be played at Capital Centre Feb. 3.

The most strenuous part of the Washington schedule appears to be its second of two Western swings. It calls for the Bullets to play seven games in 10 days in mid-February at Indiana, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Denver, San Diego, Phoenix and Los Angeles.

The Bullets' other Western swing comes in January when, in five days, they play at Portland, Seattle, Golden State and Utah.

The Bullets, who had the NBA's best regular-season record a year ago, will go to training camp Sept. 14.

On Saturday, they will embark on a three-week exhibition tour in the Far East, which will take them to China, Hong Kong, Hawaii and the Phillippines.

The Bullets' nine-day NBA preseason schedule begins Sept. 23 in New Haven, Conn., against the New Jersey Jets.

Their only Capital Centre preseason appearance is Oct. 5 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Atlanta Hawks. The Nets and 76ers will play in the first game.