Wes Unseld played perhaps his best all-round game of the season Saturday night in guiding the Washington Bullets to a 105-103 victory over the Houston Rockets at the Summit.
The Bullets had a 20-point lead in the third quarter, but needed two free throws from Kevin Porter in the final eight seconds to win.
Unseld, who had 11 points and 18 rebounds Friday night in a 128-108 loss to San Antonio, made six of eight shots and had 19-rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots against the Rockets. He also controlled Houston's Moses Malone. The Rocket center scored 23 points and had 13 rebounds, but 10 points and three rebounds came in a seven-minute stretch in the second quarter when Unseld was resting.
"We should never loss when Wes plays like he did in these last two games," Coach Dick Motta said. "He was something else."
The split in Texas gave the Bullets a 9-9 record. Their next game is Tuesday at Capital Centre against the Denver Nuggets.
The Texas games marked the season debut of Mitch Kupchak. Kupchak, who underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk June 29, was activated Thursday.
He played 14 minutes against the Spurs, making two of five shots and getting two rebounds.
Against the Rockets, he played only three minutes, missing both shots he took. Defensively, Malone took him to the hoop and worked him over as Kupchak showed signs of rustiness.
"I've got a ways to go," Kupchak said. "Practicing isn't like playing in the games."
In addition to scoring the game winning points against the Rockets, Porter played a season-high 41 minutes. He scored 18 points; had 11 assists, and controlled the tempo of the game when the Bullets needed it.
It is still uncertain when Kevin Grevey will be activated, but Gus Bailey has already shown that he is a valuable member of the team and the Bullets will have a big decision to make when Grevey is ready.
One thing is certain, Phil Chenier, Grevey and Bailey can't all stay. Chenier and Grevey are scorers, while Bailey is a defender. He played only in the final minute yesterday, but forced a jump ball by tying up Malone under the Houston basket with one second left in Saturday's game.
He also made big plays in the final seconds in narrow Bullet victories over New York and New Jersey earlier in the season.
"I know we've got a numbers problem, especially when Grevey comes back," said one Bullet, "but we need Gus. I hate to think where we'd be without him."