Super John Williamson tonight put on the type of show the Bullets dreamed about when they acquired him 10 days ago.
Williamson provided reserve firepower for the Bullets with 23 points, 12 of them in the fourth quarter, to lead Washington to a 108-103 come-from-behind victory over the San Diego Clippers.
It was the Bullets' second straight victory and coupled with the New York Knicks' loss to Houston, moved them to within 2 1/2 games of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Williamson, drilling in 20-footers, scored eight of 10 Bullet points mid-way through the final quarter to get them from a 93-88 deficit to a 98-97 lead, their first since early in the first quarter.
An Elvin Hayes layup after a feed from Wes Unseld put the Bullets ahead to stay at 102-101 with 1:04 left.
Larry Wright stole the ball from Lloyd Free for a breakaway layup 15 seconds later to seal the victory.
"John really came in and gave us the points we needed," Coach Dick Motta said. "That's what he's here for."
Kevin Grevey added 17 for the Bullets and Bob Dandridge 16.
The Bullets trailed by as many as 14 points and were down, 75-62, with six minutes left in the third quarter.
Williamson scored seven points the remainder of the period, however, and the Clippers eventually wilted.
"We didn't get excited. We kept our poise," Motta said. "I think the Bullets of old are back."
Free, the NBA's second-leading scorer with a 31.4 average going into the game, scored eight points in the first six minutes and San Diego took an early 20-11 lead.
Included in Free's points was a whirling 360-degree move against Elvin Hayes for a fast-break basket.
A three-point play by Free gave the Clippers a 10-point lead at 31-21, and then, after two straight Bullet baskets, he drilled in a 22-footer over John Williamson at the buzzer to give him 15 points in the first period and San Diego a 33-25 lead.
The Bullets opened the second quarter with an 8-0 spurt, however, to tie the score at 33.
Wes Unseld started the streak with a turnaround jumped over Bill Walton and then Bob Dandridge scored back-to-back baskets, followed by a Larry Wright layup.
The Clippers returned with an 8-2 spurt to go back on top at 41-35. Joe Bryant and Sidney Wicks each had four points in that surge.
A 10-2 San Diego burst later in the quarter led to a 60-46 margin. Free made a 20-footer and rifled a sizzling 30-foot pass to Bingo Smith for another basket to highlight that Clipper surge.
Free sat out most of the second quarter, but scored four points near the end of it, including another 22-footer at the buzzer and the Clippers were on top at halftime, 62-50.
Walton wasn't particularly impressive in his first-half stint, but this was only his fourth game this season.
Grevey had eight second-quarter points for the Bullets, but the Clippers appeared to be too quick in the first half and the Bullets, who beat the Denver Nuggets, 128-111, in Denver Tuesday night, looked a little sluggish in the early going.
The Bullets who drilled the Nuggets with 54 percent shooting Tuesday, shot only 39 percent in the first half tonight and were outrebounded, 27-25.
Grevey was the only Bullet in double figures at halftime with 13.
Walton was a different man in the third period. Coach Gene Shue used him at forward and left Swen Nater at center.
Elvin Hayes had scored six of the Bullets' first eight points of the period until Walton entered the picture. Hayes quickly picked up two offensive fouls and then picked up a loose-ball foul, his fifth after Walton had him blocked out on the defensive boards midway in the period.
In addition to his work on Hayes, Walton scored four points and staked the Clippers to a 72-60 lead before he left for a rest.
After two Grevey free throws, a free throw and a basket by Free put San Diego ahead, 75-62, but the Bullets did not fold.
Williamson, who has been bothered by a groin pull, entered the game and made a pair of 20-footers to help the Bullets close to six points at 77-71 with three minutes left in the quarter.