The NBA season is only two games old and the Washington Bullets already are in somewhat of a hole.

They lost their home and season opener to the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night, 93-92, then lost to the young New York Knicks, 125-118, in overtime at Madison Square Garden Saturday night.

They have until Wednesday to regroup before facing the Atlanta Hawks at Capital Centre.

The Bullets were fighting an uphill struggle against the Knicks because of injuries to two of their three forwards.

Coach Dick Motta has a strange roster at present with six guards, two centers and only three forwards. But when Bob Dandridge did not dress for the game because of a bad ankle and his replacement, Greg Ballard, played only 14 minutes, also because of a bad ankle, Motta had to do some serious lineup juggling.

"The numbers situation we have at forward is not ideal, but there's nothing I can do about it," Motta said. "The times it'll really hurt us is when we have injuries like we did Saturday."

The only healthy true forward, Elvin Hayes, got into foul trouble and did not play particularly well Saturday. Consequently, the Bullets went with a front line of Wes Unseld and Roger Phegley at forwards and Dave Corzine at center much of the game.

Kevin Grevey was having trouble shooting, going 0-for-10, so Motta called on Phil Chenier as the shooting guard.

Phegley, Corzine and Chenier kept the Bullets in the game. Phegley sat out the first quarter, then played the remaining 41 minutes and scored a career-high 35 points. He also had four steals and three assists.

Chenier, playing 35 minutes, had probably his best overall game in two seasons with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Corzine played 34 minutes and had 13 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.

"I'm really pleased with Corzine," Motta said. "He grows every day. He gives us exactly what we wanted when we drafted him. He's an achiever; a hard worker and something good will happen to him."

In spite of Phegley's outstanding performance at small forward, Motta said he still envisions him as a guard, "but I'll keep working him at forward."

Phegley played only four minutes against the 76ers and missed both of his shots. He looked nervous and Motta did not stay with him long.

"I really wanted to win Friday, so I didn't give Roger or many of the reserves a chance to play bad," Motta said.