Greg Ballard made an incredible three-point shot as the final horn sounded tonight to give the Washington Bullets a controversial 108-107 victory over the Utah Jazz.
Ballard scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 20.
The Jazz and most of the 10,289 at the Salt Palace thought the Jazz had the game won when Adrian Dantley made a 20-foot jump shot over Elvin Hayes with one second remaining to give Utah a 107-105 lead.
The Bullets called time immediately.
Wes Unseld in-bounded the ball at midcourt to Ballard who was to the right of the top of the circle. Ballard hesitated as Mack Calvin ran by him and then launched a 29-foot shot over Terry Furlow that swished through.
Bedlam broke out as official Lee Jones ruled the basket good. Utah Coach Tom Nissalke and the Jazz players stormed Jones and the scoring table, but the Bullets had their third straight victory and ended this four-game western swing on an up note.
"It's clear as could be, there's no way viewing a videotape in the Utah locker room. "It's a judgment call, though, so there isn't much we can do."
"Greg Ballard made a great shot, but it was late," said Furlow, who blistered the Bullets for 37 points, including three three-point goals. The points spree tied Furlow's career high.
A simple two-point basket would have tied the game, forcing an overtime, "but we weren't going for the tie. We were either going to win it or lose it" Ballard said.
Ballard added that the play was designed for Larry Wright to get a three-point shot from the corner, "but if he wasn't open the ball was supposed to go to me.
"I don't think Utah was expecting a three-point shot because they weren't really defending against it. All I was thinking about was squaring my feet to the basket and getting a good look at it. As soon as I released it, I felt good about it. It's a lot easier than shooting those shots from the corner."
Dantley, who had trouble most of the game, said he thought the game was over when he made his shot.
Wes Unseld had tied the game at 105-105 on two free throws with 13 seconds to play and the Jazz called a timeout.
Dantley, who had made only seven of 22 shots to that point, took the inbounds pass and dribbled in place for 10 seconds. He then let fly with his 20-foot jumper and it fell through.
Hayes did a good defensive job on Dantley, limited him to 18 points, 15 below his average -- and blocked four of Dantley's shots.
Wright turned in his second straight outstanding game, making 11 of 19 shots and finishing with a season-high 25 points. He also had five assists.
The Bullets played the game without Kevin Grevey, who was sent home Friday with flu.
Roger Phegley started in his place, but made only one of four shots. Bullet Coach Dick Motta sent Wright in early and he responded well. He had 11 of his points in the third quarter.
The victory improved the Bullet record to 18-20, while the troubled Jazz lost for the 30th time in 42 games. This was the third game Utah has lost on a three-point shot.
The Jazz moved to a 10-point first-quarter lead. But the Bullets got their fast break going in the second quarter and tied the score at 53-53 at halftime. The score was tied 80-80 after three quarters.
The Jazz led, 101-99, with 2:41 left, but Ballard scored on a three-point play and then Jim Cleamons and Bob Dandridge each made two free throws after a Tom Boswell basket to tie the score at 103-103 with 1:21 to play.
Boswell came off the Utah bench and scored 19 points.
In addition to his 37 points, Furlow added nine assists and had three steals.
The Bullets shot 51 percent and out-rebounded the Jazz, 48-43.
They will be off for three days and then host the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday at Capital Centre.