The Washington Bullets reached the playoffs without Bob Dandridge and Mitch Kupchak and they will have to make it the rest of the way without them.
The Bullets hoped one or both would return, but the 11-player rosters were frozen as of midnight Sunday and neither man is ready.
Dandridge played in only 45 games, before being placed on the injured list March 22, with calcium deposits in his knee. Ron Behagen was signed to replace him.
Kupchak played in only 40 games because of back problems. He was put on the injured list March 1 and replaced by Lawrence Boston.
"We made it through the season without them, but it was hard getting here," said Coach Dick Motta. "It would be nice to have them for the playoffs, but we don't, so there's no snese worrying about it."
No Dandridge and no Kupchak means no depth. And that means trouble, especially against their first-round opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers.
The best-of-three series will open Wednesday at the Spectrum in Philadelphia begining at 8:05 (WDCA-TV20). The second game will be played at Capital Centre Friday at 8:35. If a third game is necessary, the teams will return to the Spectrum Sunday afternoon.
The Bullets were the last team to quialify for the playoffs, for the sixth and final spot in the Eastern Conference, with a 93-87 victory over the New Jersey Nets in Piscataway in the final day of the season.
The 76ers coasted along virtually the entire season. They finished with a 59-23 record, third best in the league, behind Boston and Los Angeles.
The 76ers got good news yesterday when forward Julius (Dr. J) Erving and guard Maurice Cheeks were pronounced fit and ready for Wednesday's game. a
Erving missed four of the last seven regular-season games with a sprained arch in his foot and fluid on a knee. Neither Erving nor Cheeks played in the 76ers' season-ending 116-110 victory over the Celtics Sunday.Cheeks missed the game with a concussion sustained in a game against the Knicks last Thursday.
They don't call Kevin Grevey Dr. K, but his play over the last 10 games has been a major reason why the Bullets made it to the playoffs for the 12th straight year.
Grevey was named NBA player of the week for the final week of the season.
In four games for the week that ended Sunday, Grevey averaged 21.8 points while shooting 50.8 percent from the field. He converted 12 of 22 three-point shots and made all 11 of his free throw attempts.
In his last 10 games, Grevey has shot 50.6 percent from the field, making 80 of 158 shots, and 52.4 percent on three-point shots, making 22 of 42.
For the season, Grevey finished seventh in three-point field goal percentage (34 of 92 for 37 percent) and was ninth in free throw percentage (86.7 percent).
The Bullets had to win their final two games to reach the playoffs and Grevey cam through with 24 points, making three of five three-pointers, against Atlanta Friday, and 23 points, including three of six three-pointers, against the Nets Sunday.
It was a Grevey three-pointer that broke the Nets' back in the final two minutes.
"Kevin is playing much more under control," Motta said. "He's hitting three-pointers and that's opening up his drives. Once you become predictable in this league you're beatable and Kevin Grevey had become predictable. He isn't anymore."
Grevey's hot shooting late in the season lifted his field goal percentage to 41. He was below 40 percent for most of the season. But even when Grevey's shots were missing he hustled. "And that's all we ask of our people," said Motta.
The Bullets said yesterday that two buses will leave from Capital Centre for the Spectrum Wednesday. A round-trip bus ticket and a ticket to the game can be purchased for $16. Interested persons should contact the Bullets.