Washington Bullet Coach Dick Motta, searching for solutions to his team's problems, is considering putting Kevin Porter on the bench next to the recently deposed Phil Chenier.
Motta would replace the disappointing Porter with Larry Wright in the playmaking position. The coach replaced Chenier with Roger Phegley Wednesday night as the shooting guard among the starting five.
The Bullets are 9-11 and in fourth place in the NBA's Atlantic Division, seven games behind first-place Boston.
Of the possible move to Wright, Motta said: "I'm thinking about it, but I haven't made up my mind yet." The Bullet coach hopes to get back on the right track at Capital Centre tonight against Indiana (10-15) and against New Jersey (9-15) Saturday night.
Phegley got the first start of his pro career Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Spectrum and even though the Bullets were buried, 120-102, he played well.
He made 10 of 21 shots and led the team with 22 points. He also had four assists and committed only one turnover in 33 minutes.
Chenier had started the previous 14 games after Kevin Grevey was felled by hamstring-muscle injuries.
Chenier, who is trying to come back after back surgery in September played well earlier in the season but has been struggling the past few games.
In the previous seven contests before losing his starting job to Phegley Wednesday night, Chenier was playing 22 minutes a game and averaging 8.3 points, 2.3 assists and 2.3 turnovers. He shot only 35 percent in those seven games.
"Starting isn't all that different than coming off the bench for me," Phegley said. "Things are the same as before. Both Phil and I will both still play a lot."
Chenier did play better as a reserve Wednesday. He made three of five shots and did not have a turnover in 14 minutes.
The move to Phegley was the first lineup change not necessitated by an injury that Motta had made this season.
Porter has shown flashes of brilliance only on rare occasions this season. His last two games have been his worst. He played only 21 minutes and had one assist and scored four points against Denver Tuesday and had three assists and came up scoreless in 15 minutes against the 76ers Wednesday. t
"I know I haven't played well in the last two games and I felt particularly bad about it because we lost both of them," Porter said.
"I was feeling pretty comfortable before then and I still am, but I'm just not showing the consistency I'd like to.
"It doesn't faze me who starts. I'll continue to do what I can to help the team. We aren't running the break very well because we aren't rebounding well. That means we have to set up more. Larry really knows our offense and he has the good outside jumper so he can be very effective in a slowdown game."
Wright has not been playing exceptionally well lately, either, but Motta apparently is reaching the point where he feels any change has to help.
Wright turned in an effective 33-minute performance in relief of Porter Wednesday. He scored 11 points, had 10 assists and six rebounds and committed only two turnovers.
"By me getting into the game and doing some things right early, helped," Wright said. "I didn't have to worry about doing something wrong and getting snatched out of there."
Porter is at his best in a wide-open fast-breaking situation, but the Bullets aren't getting many fast-break opportunities and their set offense is breaking down. That has left them to do a lot of free-lancing.
Wright is more effective in the improvising type of situation than Porter.
The Bullets' fast break has been inconsistent at best. Washington has outscored the opposition on the break in only six of its 20 games this season and has been outscored, 155-88, on fast-break opportunities in the last six games.
Part of that is because the Bullets have been getting outrebounded. Last season, the Bullets were the only team in the NBA to get more than 4,000 rebounds and they averaged better than four rebounds a game more than opponents. This season, however, the opposition is coming up with one rebound more a game.
"You can't run without the ball," Motta said.
Center West Unseld is third in the NBA in rebounding with a 13.4 average, but is not getting much help.
In addition to the performances of Wright and Phegley aganst the 76ers, Mitch Kupchak had his most productive outing since coming off the injured list a week ago.
Kupchak made eight of 13 shots from the field and scored a total of 20 points in 21 minutes. He also had five rebounds and three steals.
"Mitch needed the minutes and he responded," Motta said.
Kupchak got so much time because forward Elvin Hayes missed the game with a sprained right ankle sustained in the Denver game. Hayes, who is questionable for tonight's game, has missed only six games in his 12-year career.
Greg Ballard started for Hayes in Philadelphia and had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bullets were 13-7 after 20 games the previous two seasons . . . Washington also has had a very favorable schedule so far. The team has played half its games at home and not more than two games on the road in a row . . . Of the NBA's top seven teams, the Bullets have played only two of them -- Boston and Philadelphia -- and are 0.4 against them. They have yet to play Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Milwaukee or the league's other top teams . . . The combined record of the teams the Bullets have beaten is 85-123.