Bob Dandridge was back providing firepower coming from the bench, Larry Wright was in the starting lineup and Greg Ballard continued his incredible scoring spree yesterday.
The result was the Bullets' largest victory margin this year, 127-95, over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Bullets showed no weaknesses and treated the crowd of 9,469 at Capital Centre to an entertaining and satisfying all-around show, scoring 40 points off the fast break alone.
Ballard, who had 31 points against Philadelphia Friday night, came back with a career-high 32 yesterday and added 14 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Dandridge missed the 76er game with a bad ankle and it was questionable if he could play today. But after warming up he felt he could, and scored 14 points in 19 minutes on seven-of-11 shooting.
But the man who gave the Bullets their biggest lift was the whirlwind Wright.
Kevin Grevey has not been playing well and Coach Dick Motta ran out of patience waiting for him to improve. Motta decied just before the game to start Wright and the quicksilver guard did nothing to disappoint him.
Wright's statistics were modest -- 16 points and four assists -- but he got the Bullets running. Even when there wasn't a clear fast break, he moved the ball upcourt quickly, resulting in countless easy baskets for the Bullets.
"I just took it upon myself to create things," Wright said after only his second start this season. "When you push the ball upcourt, you create things because it puts the other team at a disadvantage. This is the way I like to play basketball."
"Larry's speed and quickness really showed today," Jim Cleamons, the other starting guard, said. "The primary ball-handling responsibilities are still on my shoulders, but with Larry in there, he can take the ball all the way himself and get us into something. All that does is make us better. He gets the ball downcourt so fast."
Cleamons added 10 points and four assists and between them they committed only one turnover in 58 minutes.
"Everyone played well today," Motta said. "Our defense was really alive. They (the Trail Blazers) didn't get any cheap baskets from their motion offense.
"We absolutely controlled the backboards. We were streaking downcourt, releasing early and everything."
The Bullets used a 13-0 scoring spurt midway through the second period to open a 61-40 lead at intermission and the Trail Blazers were never in the game after that. Ballard had eight points in that stretch.
Motta has maintained that when Dandridge recovers, he will start.
But it will be difficult to sit Ballard down.
"Greg really has confidence in his shooting now," Motta said. "He's a great shooter and his teammates have that confidence in him, too. We just haven't been able to give him the minutes he's deserved in the past."
Ballard, who has started the last 12 games, said the other Bullets "are looking to me more because I've been shooting the ball so well.
"If I go back to the bench, then I'll accept it because the bench is just as important as the starting five. It takes both to win."
"Greg's been shooting like he was Elvin Hayes or somebody," Wright said. "Today he wasn't hesitating a bit. When the shot was there, he was sticking it. He's getting playing time and he's relaxed now. He feels like he belongs out there and its shows."
"He's looking for his shot more now because he knows he's going to make it," Motta added. "I feel very comfortable with the ball in his hands."
The Bullets have won five of their last six, all of the victories coming when Dandridge has played.
Dandridge said his foot was still sore. "It's the ligament on the bottom of my left foot. I reinjured it in the Laker game and there's a lot of stiffness in it."
Wright's only previous start this season came on Nov. 30 against the Indiana Pacers in place of Kevin Porter. This time though, Motta said the move may be more permanent.
"Things worked out pretty good today, so I won't (change) the lineup for awhile," Motta said. "It's not 100 percent definite, but I don't see why I should change."
The Bullets' next game will be Tuesday against the Seattle Super-Sonics at the Capital Centre and that means Wright will be matched against Gus Williams, with Cleamons on Dennis Johnson.
The left-handed Cleamons injured his left wrist late in yesterday's game, but said he should be able to play Tuesday.
Seven Bullets scored in double figures and the only player who didn't score was Roger Phegley, who played 17 minutes. Grevey played 16 minutes and scored eight points on 4-for-10 shooting.
Ron Brewer led Portland (24-24) with 23 points. Substitute Maurice Lucas had 19 points and 13 rebounds.
The victory improved the Bullets to 20-21, so the Seattle game will provide extra incentive: the Bullets could reach .500 for the first time since they were 9-9 Nov. 24.