Three weeks ago, John Williamson was still a New Jersey Net and Kevin Porter was an afterthought.
Now, the Super John and KP Show is putting pizazz into the formerly blase Bullets and is a major reason the Bullets have playoff fever once again.
Williamson made 11 of 15 shots and a Bullet-high 24 points yesterday, 18 of them in the fourth quarter. Porter scored 11 points and had 10 assists as the Bullets buried the New York Knicks, 112-97, at Capital Centre.
Their third victory in a row moved the Bullets within two games of the Knicks and Indiana Pacers for the sixth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Knicks were never in the game after the first 10 minutes.
Bill Cartwright, talented seven-foot rookie center, scored on a turnaround jumper over Wes Unseld to put the Knicks ahead, 22-20, with 1:38 left in the first quarter.
The Bullets then scored 12 straight points at the end of the period and the beginning of the second quarter, to take a 32-22 lead. Greg Ballard had four points in the spurt.
Ballard, who finished with 23 points, scored 11 points in the third quarter, making all five of his shots from the field as the Bullets shot 68 percent and moved to an 89-66 lead.
That left the fourth period for Porter and Williamson.
Williamson had his running one-handers working and Porter was getting him the ball.
"I played with Kevin for awhile when we were both in New Jersey and I was having my best year," Williamson said. "He knows where to find me."
Williamson's most impressive move came early in the fourth period when he drove toward the left corner and then all of a sudden let fly with a semi-two handed push shot that swished in from 20 feet.
That basket brought the second biggest cheer of the day from the crowd of 12,838.
The biggest cheer came just as the first period ended and Capital Centre public address announcer Marv Brooks bellowed that the United States hockey team had beaten Finland to win an Olympic gold medal.
There were two minutes of cheering, clapping, foot stomping and chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A."
Bullet Coach Dick Motta returned yesterday after missing the last two games with the flu and said the team is playing now as well as it has all season.
"We're only one game behind New York in the loss column now and we play them twice more, he said. "Our destiny is in our own hands."
Motta said he is excited about the way Porter and Williamson are working together. He brings them in as a pair to start the second and fourth quarters in relief of starters Jim Cleamons and Kevin Grevey.
"They (Porter and Williamson) are playing so well together, I'd be crazy to change things," Motta said.
"It's apparent now that Williamson is for real. He's not a sometimes thing. We know what he can give us in the second and fourth quarters and KP is there to get him on the ball."
The Knicks had 26 points and 10 assists from guard Ray Williams, but shot only 41 percent in the game.
Starting power forward Joe C. Meriweather injured his knee in a game Saturday night and was not with the team yesterday. His replacement, rookie Larry Demic, got into real trouble, so Coach Red Holzman used 7-foot Marvin Webster at power forward.
Webster returned from the injured list Saturday after being out all season with a knee injury.
With him and Cartwright in the game, the Knicks had size, but didn't have much cohesivenss and the Bullets steadily moved ahead.
"We have the homecourt advantage the rest of the season; we don't need help from any other teams," said Motta. "We play all of the teams above us in this race, enough to control our own fate.
Motta gave the team today off. They will face the Rockets in Houston, Wednesday and again at Capital Centre Thursday.