The Washington Bullets raced by the Denver Nuggets, 107-92, last night at Capital Centre for their fourth straight victory, but they say they still have some tests to pass.
"We still haven't had a true test," said guard Kevin Grevey, who had 22 points and six assists while holding high scoring David Thompson to 20, seven below his season average. "We'll get our test the next three games. We didn't get that excited when we were 2-9 and we aren't all excited now that we're 6-9."
"It's better to win four in a row than lose four in a row," said center Wes Unseld, who had a season high 20 rebounds, "but the next three games will tell because we'll be playing good teams on the road."
The test will begin tonight in Boston against the Celtics (WDCA-TV-20 at 7:30) and then take the Bullets to Indiana Friday and Atlanta Saturday. a
The Bullets jumped on the Nuggets early, speeding to a 24-7 lead. It wasn't much of a contest after that.
The Nuggets went into the game as the highest scoring team in the National Basketball Association, averaging more than 119 points a game. But they came up with their lowest output of the season against the Bullets.
Denver shot 37 percent.
The Bullets, who hadn't shot below 53 percent in their three previous games, fired at only a 44 percent clip and made only eight of 28 shots in the fourth quarter.
They had a safe lead by then, though, and the Nuggets, who looked disjointed and tired all game, were never a threat.
The Bullets held a 10-7 advantage when they scored 14 straight points to take that 24-7 lead. Grevey and Greg Ballard had 12 of the points.
Denver struggled back to within 11 later in the quarter, but Wes Matthews and Grevey led the Bullets on three straight fast breaks to get the lead back to 17.
Denver scored 10 unanswered points early in the second period to close to seven, but the Bullets bounced back with a 15-3 spurt, sparked by Mitch Kupchak, Carlos Terry and Kevin Porter, to get their lead up to 19.
Denver got to 11 with four minutes to play, but Elvin Hayes scored on a turnaround jumper and Porter on a fast break and two free throws to seal the victory.
Grevey, who failed to make a three-point field goal for the first time in nine games, scored 14 of his points in the quarter. Hayes, who led all scores with 26 points, had 10 in the first quarter.
"I wanted to put pressure on Thompson by scoring a lot early to make him play defense," Grevey said.
The strategy worked as Thompson quickly picked up three fouls. By the time he could get involved in the offense the Nuggets were too far behind.
The Bullets were outrebounded, 61-51, but they made better use of theirs to start fast breaks, scoring 35 points off the break to eight for Denver.
Just as telling were the turnovers.
The Bullets had only one in the first half while they were taking a 61-41 lead and they had only 11 for the game, equaling the season low. Denver could convert those turnovers into only four points while the Bullets were turning Denver's 26 mistakes into 36 points.
"We didn't want to run up and down the floor with them," said Bullet Coach Gene Shue. "They're first in the league in offense and last in defense, so their whole idea is to run you. But they weren't making their shots and we were able to out-run them."