For the first time in two weeks, the Washington Bullets know what it feels like to be winners. They aren't letting it go to their heads.
The Bullets snapped a six-game losing streak, their longest in 13 years. Friday night at the Boston Garden with a 118-107 victory over the Celtics. It was only Boston's fourth home loss in 25 games this season.
The Bullets will go for two in a row this afternoon against the Golden State Warriors in a 1 p.m. game at Capital Centre.
"It's nice to beat Boston up there, but I'd welcome a victory over anybody at this point," said Bullet Coach Dick Motta.
The Bullets shot an incredible 76 percent from the field in the first a row, and had an 11-point lead at the end of that period. The Celtics, playing wothout their injured all-star center, Dave Cowens, were able to catch up.
The Bullets shot 54 percent for the game and outrebounds the Celtics, 55-35.
"It's really a simple game. If you get more rebounds and make your shots, you always win," said Bullet center Wes Unseld, who had an impressive 17-point, 19-rebound, six-assist night.
Included in this points was his first slam-dunk in for seasons, which gave his teammates something to savor almost as much as the victory.
Forwards Elvin Hayes and Bob Dandridge scored 25 points apiece, but Hayes burst a blood vessel in his right foot and his availability for today's game is uncertain.
The Bullets are not, by any means, ready to say that all of their problems have been sloved just because they beat the Celtics one time.
They squandered two big leads because they couldn't handle a full-court press and because they started taking bad shots when things start turning against them.
The Boston press forced 12 of Washington's 19 turnovers Friday. Three of them were violations when the Bullets couldn't inbound the ball.
"We have plays designed to break a press, but we still have to be more aware of situations and make adjustments," said Bullets guard Jim Cleamons. "The defense adjusts its press to make adjustments to beat it."
The Bullets, who are not a good ball-handling team, dribbled too much against the Celtic press instead of passing.
When they ran their offense, they were practically unstoppable, but they went through spells in which they threw up long jump shots.
"We have to avoid those long periods of just taking jump shots instead of sticking with the offense," Cleamons said. "Our main thing is consistency. We play basically the same way, win or lose, but it's lack of doing the little things that causes our losing streaks.
"Overall, we all think we can play better, but there has to be some soul-searching and some self-analyzation to get us straight. Everyone needs to do something to make us play better."
The key is still the substitutes," Unseld said. "When they play well, we do well."
Against New Jersey, the Bullet reserves produced only four points and made one of 13 shots in 58 total minutes.
In 58 minutes against Boston, the reserves produced 30 points on 14-for-31 shooting. Roger Phedley, who missed his only two shots and did not score a point in seven minutes against the Nets, made eight of nine shots and scored 16 points in 15 minutes against the Celtics.
After being reinserted into the starting lineup two games ago, Dandridge has made 21 of 37 shots. . . . The Warriors are struggling and are deep in the Pacific Division cellar. Their big guns are former Maryland All-America John Lucas, center Robert Parish and Ewingman Sonny Parker. Phil Smith is just starting to regain his form after Achilles' tendon surgery last season.