Gene Shue has been preaching defense to the Washington Bullets throughout this training camp and it started showing results tonight as the Bullets buried the talented Chicago Bulls, 104-87, to record their first victory of the exhibition season.
"It's nice to get a win," a pleased Shue said. "Last night, Atlanta applied the defensive pressure to us, but tonight we applied that same pressure to Chicago. We're still in a learning process, but that's the type of defense I like to see."
The Bullets jumped to 13-2 lead and were never really threatened after that. Every time the Bulls made a run at them, someone was there to pick up the Bullets.
John Williamson led the Bullets with 16 points, while Mitch Kupchak, playing his second strong game in a row, added 15.
Point guards Kevin Porter and Wes Matthews played well as the Bullets ran when the break was available and set up their pattern offense when it wasn't. Porter scored 15 points and had six assists, while Matthews scored 10 points and added six assists.
The Bulls were led by forwards Larry Kenon and David Greenwood with 14 points each.
Chicago shot a lowly 40 percent for the game, though, 31 percent in the first half. The Bullets shot an impressive 52 percent.
In addition to Matthews, two other Bullet rookies made good showings. Carlos Terry, a free agent from Winston-Salem, played both big guard and small forward and came up with six points, five assists and three rebounds. Second-round draft pick Rick Mahorn played 21 minutes and was dominant at times. He scored six points, had six rebounds and blocked four shots. He also had one incredible driving dunk from the right side that had the arena rocking. hMahorn came down and swished in a soft 20-foot jump shot on the Bullets' next possession.
"Rick has shown great progress," Shue said. "I just hope he keeps improving. He seems willing to work hard and he's accomplished a lot. One interesting thing about him is that if he is nervous, he doesn't show it and that helps him."
"I felt more relaxed than I did in the first game," Mahorn said. "I'm a little more confident."
Artis Gilmore made two free throws in the first 10 seconds of the game, but the Bulls didn't score for the next four minutes until rookie Ronnie Lester hit a 15-footer.
The Bullets; meanwhile, scored 13 straight points, as Porter got them off and running. Porter had a steal and a layup and two assists, both to Wes Unseld, in that spurt.
Greenwood went on to score 10 first-period points, but the Bullets still led by seven, 27-20, going into the second period.
The Bullets missed their first five shots of the quarter and couldn't score until rookie Matthews made a baseline jumper four minutes into the quarter.
The Bulls scored only four points in that span. After Matthews' jumper Dwight Jones missed for Chicago and Kupchak followed with a three-point play for a 32-24 Bullet lead.