Washington's guards committed 13 turnovers and Indiana's four and that's why the Bullets' two-game winning streak came to a screeching halt last night.
"We just had too many turnovers," lamented Washington Coach Gene Shue after the Pacers had cruised to a 128-115 victory at Market Square Arena.
For Washington, rookie Wes Matthews fell victim to Indiana's pressure defense times, Kevin Grevey, who reinjured his shooting had and Carlos Terry each turned the ball over three times and only veteran Kevin Porter was respectable with a single error.
Indiana's ball-handling guards, Johnny Davis, newcomer Don Buse and Dudley Bradley, didn't commit a single mistake.
"I think our main problem tonight was that we were running away from the pressure," said Porter, who came off the bench for seven assists and eight points.
"Instead of having the outlet it wasn't there. We have all of our big men on the baseline. That kid Bradley did a good job."
Bradley scored 19 points in 19 minutes and had three steals. But his double teaming helped Indiana swipe the ball 14 times. Davis led Indiana with 22 points, 10 assists and three steals.
"Davis is the key to that team," insisted Porter, who still feels he can do the job for the Bullets.
"It's hard for me coming off the bench and adjusting after being a starter for eight years. I'm trying not to hurt the club. I feel I still can do the job if the coach has confidence in me."
Forward Greg Ballard paced the Bullets with 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists while operating under close guarding. "It seemed like most of the time I had a man coming out on me," he said. "They play well at home and we play well at home."
Nineteen errors in the first half, as Coach Shue pinpointed, caused the Bullets to fall behind, 67-48, at the half and they were playing catchup the rest of the game. They never caught up.
"Their (Pacer) defense forced a lot, but we made a lot of mental mistakes ourselves," said Shue. "It was a combination of both.
"We obviously have trouble winning on the road and we have lots of problems when we play games back to back. We're more effective at home and we're still trying to develop confidence on the road.
"We're not really a strong team at this point. I'm tickled to death that we're playing so well at home."
Elvin Hayes suffered from Indiana's swarming defense. He scored only five points and picked off just four rebounds in the first half. He collected three fouls.
In the third period Hayes got things going and the Bullets trimmed Indiana's big margin to nine. But then Hayes was charged with his fourth and fifth fouls and the Bullets spurt sputtered.
Sent in in the fourth, he quickly fouled out when he slapped Davis across the wrist on a fast break drive to the basket. He departed with 14 points and eight rebounds.
One bright spot for the Bullets was the play of rookie Rick Mahorn, who came in to score a career high 14 points. He also contributed five rebounds and an assist.
Mitch Kupchak again had a good relief performance against the Pacers, scoring 20 in an equal number of minutes and pulling down eight rebounds. Washington won the board war, 47-42.
Washington trailed, 19-15, when the Pacers made their first big surge, outscoring the Bullets, 14-10, to the buzzer, nine of those coming after a 21-21 tie.