The Washington Bullets played their best game of the season last night as they got their fast break in gear and outgunned the San Antonio Spurs, 125-116, at Capital Centre.
The Bullets had only three fastbreak points in their last game, but registered 30 last night, outrunning one of the NBA's premier running teams.
Elvin Hayes scored the Bullets' first 10 points and finished with a season-high 34.
Bob Dandridge, however, was the dominant player on the floor much of the night. He scored 26 points and had eight assists.
Playmaker Kevin Porter broke out of his slump with 13 points, 16 assists and six steals. The Bullets registered 42 assists, a team record.
George Gervin led the Spurs with 37 points, but not even he could bring the Spurs back after the Bullets bolted to a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter.
"We got our running game going and got the ball to Bobby out on the right side," said Coach Dick Motta. "When Bobby gets the ball out there he can create so much . . . I feel very comfortable with the ball in his hands."
Dandridge scored 12 points in the third quarter when the Bullets were coming from a 62-58 halftime deficit to a 92-86 lead going into the final quarter.
One sequence early in the fourth quarter illustrated the kind of night it was for Dandridge. The Bullets were ahead, 96-90, when he made a baseline jumper. Then, after a San Antonio miss, he hurried down court, missed a shot, grabbed the rebound and rifled a pass underneath to a wide-open Roger Phegley for an easy basket.
At the other end of the floor he blocked Billy Paultz's jumper and Greg Ballard got a fast-break basket for the Bullets. After another San Antonio miss, Dandridge decoyed two Spurs into thinking he would shoot a jump shot. Instead, he snuck a nifty pass inside to Dave Corzine, who scored easily.
All of a sudden, the Bullets had a 104-90 lead and the game was out of reach of the Spurs.
"We were trying to get the ball to me more," said Dandridge. "That's one of the things we talked about before the game. We worked on getting the ball up court quick and, when I got the ball on the side, people were just getting open and filling all of the lanes."
Dandridge also stymied the Spurs' Larry Kenon, forcing him to miss 13 of 17 shots and holding him to 12 points under his 22 points-a-game average.
The Bullets outrebounded the Spurs, 52-40, with Hayes and Wes Unseld grabbing 14 each and Corzine 10 to go with his 12 points.
The Bullets' outlet passes reached near midcourt and once Porter had the ball there, he was virtually unstoppable.
"We got a lot of easy baskets," Porter said. "It was a running game, but we are still a pattern ball club and we have to be able to make that work. Tonight, even when the break wasn't there, we slowed the ball down and still got a good shot most of the time."
Porter appeared to be looking for his shot more than usual and made six of 11.
"We are a good perimeter shooting team but some nights those shots aren't going to fall, so I have to start looking for my shot," he said.
Once Porter was in his groove, he had the crowd of 14,223 on its feet cheering. His most pleasing play came on a fast break on which he stutterstepped his way into the lane then leaped and did a 360-degree turn before dishing off the ball to Phil Chenier. lHis teammate had a wide open jump shot.
Hayes scored in almost every way imagineable. He was out quickly on the break, he rolled to the basket when Porter penetrated and other times he was content to hit his turnaround jump shot.
The Bullets (4-6) will try to win two in a row, something they haven't accomplished yet this season, tonight against the Atlanta Hawks at the Omni. a