Kevin Grevey and Kevin Porter combined for all 12 Bullet points in overtime last night as Washington kept its playoff hopes alive with a gutty 119-113 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
It was the Bullets' third game in the last three nights and their first victory in the last four games. It was also their first victory over the 76ers in six tries this season.
Grevey, who scored 27 points, including two key three-point field goals, had seven points in the extra period.
Porter, playing 33 minutes because starter Jim Cleamons suffered a serious shoulder injury in the first minute of the game, turned in an outstanding 17-point, 11-assist performance. He had five of his points and two assists in overtime.
Greg Ballard was the leading Bullet scorer with 30 points before a screaming Capital Centre crowd of 17,649.
The victory, coupled with Houston's loss to Cleveland last night, moved the Bullets back to within 1 1/2 games of the sixth-place Rockets in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Bullets, 35-41, have six games remaining. The Rockets, 37-40, have five games left. The Bullets won the season series with Houston, four games to two.
"We stayed away from the gravediggers tonight," said Bullet Coach Dick Motta. "If we don't lose, they can't put dirt on our grave.
"We still need help, though. Houston is the only logical one we can catch. We have to win some and hope they lose," Motta added.
"If we had lost tonight we probably would have been out of it," said Grevey. "This was really a gutty effort. We're all so tired. We just somehow got our second wind."
The 76ers were playing without their star, Julius (Dr. J) Erving, who sprained his foot in the team's loss to San Antonio Wednesday night.
Maurice Cheeks led Philadelphia last night with 22 points, Lionel Hollins contributed 21 and Darryl Dawkins 20, but without the Doctor, the Sixers didn't have a floor leader or anyone to go to when they really needed help.
Philadelphia, nevertheless, scored the last five points of regulation to force the overtime period.
Cheeks made a free throw and a fast-break basket to cut a five-point Bullet lead to 107-105 with 19 seconds left.
The 76ers called time out and set up a full-court press.
Hollins deflected a Wes Unseld pass to Bobby Jones, who passed the ball back inside to Hollins for a layup and 107-107 tie with 11 seconds left.
The Bullets then called a time out to set up a play.
John Williamson got free for a second and threw up an off-balance jumper over Hollins that banged off the glass and the rim with six seconds left. Dawkins rebounded it for the Sixers.
Motta wouldn't fault Williamson afterward, but he indicated that he didn't want the shot to come with that much time left.
Dawkins missed a 12-foot baseline jumper with one second left, sending the game into overtime.
Grevey made two free throws to get the Bullets off to a two-point lead in the overtime, but Washington missed its first six shots from the field, enabling the 76ers to take a 111-109 lead.
Porter stole the ball from Henry Bibby and was credited for his fast-break layup when Caldwell Jones was called for goal-tending.
Bobby Jones missed for Philadelphia on its next possession and Porter added two more on another goal-tending call on Caldwell Jones, his fourth in the game.
Porter also was fouled on the play by Bobby Jones. His successful free throw gave the Bullets a 114-111 lead with 47 seconds left.
Elvin Hayes, who played the entire 53 minutes, the third time he has played the route this season, then drew an offensive foul on Cheeks.
Philadelphia Coach Billy Cunningham was so incensed he was called for a technical foul by referee Paul Mihalak.
Grevey made the technical foul shot for a 115-111 Bullet lead with 24 seconds left. The 76ers never recovered.
An 11-0 Bullet spurt, midway through the fourth period, sparked by seven straight points by Grevey, gave the Bullets a six-poing lead with 5:10 left in regulation. But they couldn't hold onto it.
"I thought our execution was better than it has been in ages," said Cunningham, whose team shot 50 percent. We got the shots we wanted.
"Porter hurt us," Cunningham added. "He played well. I still don't know how they called that a three-point play though," referring to Porter's last basket of the overtime.