Elvin Hayes played all 48 minutes and scored a season-high 43 points, then lashed out at Dick Motta, saying his coaching was largely responsible for the Bullets' 133-124 loss to the NewYork Knicks at Capital Centre yesterday.
"I played 48 minutes and played my heart out," Hayes said, "but we need some help from the bench and we aren't getting it.
"If he [Motta] had made the right substitutions at the right time, it would have made a difference. I'm angry because I hate to see a 48-minute effort and 43 points go to waste like this. We needed this game. I want to make the playoffs and I'm doing everything I can to get us there, but we need help from the bench [Motta] to do it."
Hayes was referring to the third quarter, when the Bullets squandered a 16-point lead in five minutes and were outscored, 12-0, in one spurt, 16-0 in another.
By the time the quarter ended, the Kincks had turned a 79-63 deficit into a 97-87 lead.
Hayes said Motta should have used Kevin Porter and John Williamson as the guards when the Knicks were taking control instead of Kevin Grevey and Jim Cleamons.
Williamson replaced Grevey after the Knicks had scored 12 straight to cut the lead to 81-75, and Porter replaced Cleamons when the Bullets were down, 87-83, in the quarter.
Before then, Motta had called only one timeout and made one substitution in the period.
"We watch a 16-point lead disappear and we don't do anything to stop their momentum," Hayes said. "We don't do anything to stop it. We got our lead in the second quarter by running and pushing the ball up the floor with Kevin and Supe and then we change in the third quarter and they catch us.
"K.P. and Supe were playing good and they should have been in there," Hayes said.
"This was a game for Larry to play in, too. He could have helped us today and he's been playing greatlately, but he never gets off the bench. I just don't know what they [the coaches] are doing."
"I can understand Elvin getting upset," Motta said. "Everyone wants to win so badly. He's a little frustrated and so am I."
The Knicks received billiant perfomances from dynamic young guards Ray Williams and Michael Ray Richardson. Williams scored 38 points and had six assists and four steals while Richardson had 25 points and 17 assists.
Those two set the pace, but Toby Knight and Bill Cartwright helped keep it up.
Knight made 11 of 16 shots and scored 27 points, 21 in the second half, while Cartwright made nine of 11 shots and scored 24 points. The Knicks shot 59 percent for the game. The Bullets shot 56 percent, their second-best shooting game of the season. Defense -- or no defense -- was the reason.
Williamson was unstoppable in the second quarter, scoring 15 of his 21 points, and Porter was effective on offense with 19 points and 16 assists. But they are among the worst defensive guards in the league. Richardson and Williams were going around them without so much as a wave of the hand.
"We could post them up or go around them pretty easily," Williams said.
Cleamons and Grevey didn't provide much defensive help either.
"No one was stopping them in the second hald," Motta said. "I made all of the moves I could."
The Bullets appeared to have the game under control when they exploded for a 41-point second quarter to take a 71-59 halftime lead.
The ran off a 21-4 spurt to take command at 63-50 with 2:44 left in the half.
Hayes had eight points, Williamson seven and Porter four points and four assists in that span.
New York Coach Red Holzman used the intermission to jump all over his team.
"Red came in here and blew his stack," Williams said. "I wish I had ear plugs. He said our guards were trying to do too much and not getting the other people involved."
So in the third quarter, the Knicks started looking for Knight, who was able to score at will over Greg Ballard. "That's the best I've ever seen him (Knight) play," Motta said. "He killed us."
With Knight hitting his soft jumpers and Williams and Richardson pressing and running all over, the Knicks picked up momentum and never eased up.
In one stretch of the quarter they made 11 of 12 shots.They shot 72-percent for the period.
They also forced eight Bullet turnovers in the quarter, and got 10 points out of them.
Richardson scored 12 points in the quarter and both he and Williams had five assists in the period.
The Bullets weathered a 12-0 Knicks spurt and after baskets by Williamson and Cleamons, were still up by six points at 83-77 when the Knicks took off on their 16-0 run.
In that 3 minute 51 second span, Richardson scored eight points and Knight six and all but four of the 16 points came off fast breaks.
The Bullets in that span missed four straight shots and turned the ball over five times.
The defeat kept the Bullets in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one full game behind sixth-place Houston in the race for the last play-off spot and two games behind the fourth-place Knicks.