It was Black Tuesday for the Washington Bullets.
Early yesterday they lost dynamic rookie Carlos Terry for the season after knee surgery and last night they lost a game to the Chicago Bulls when Reggie Theus made a spectacular play in the final three seconds to score the winning basket in a 96-94 Chicago victory.
The Capital Centre defeat and the manner in which it happened were painful to the Bullets, but the loss of Terry will have a much more lasting effect on the team that needs a Terry type very badly.
He will go on the injured list today and General Manager Bob Ferry said the team will sign someone today to replace him. He wouldn't say who.
Two free throws by Wes Mathews gave the Bullets a 94-92 lead with 58 seconds remaining in last night's game.
David Greenwood missed a jumper on Chicago's next possession, but Elvin Hayes couldn't put a turnaround down when the Bullets got the ball back.
The Bulls worked the ball inside to Artis Gilmore and the 7-foot-2 center muscled in a layup to tie the score at 94-94 as Hayes fouled him with 18 seconds left. Gilmore missed the ensuing free throw, but the rebound was ruled to have gone off Hayes as he and James Wilkes battle for it.
After a timeout, Chicago inbounded the ball to Ricky Sobers. He held it until six seconds remained and put up a long jump shot from the left corner. iIt bounded high off the rim, but Theus came flying in from the head of the key and snared the rebound just as Hayes was about to grab it. He then laid the ball in as the startled Bullets could do nothing but watch.
The Bullets called timeout to set a play, but Matthews' three-point attempt from beyond the head of the key bounced off the rim as the final buzzer sounded.
"Our last play was set for Ricky to hold the ball and then take the last shot," Theus said. "No one screened me out and I was in a position where no one saw me coming."
"I had Gilmore blocked out and all of a sudden Theus comes out of nowhere," said Hayes. "You have to block a guy like that out. He had a clear path to the basket because we had all of their big men blocked out."
Mathews, who is only 6-1, was guarding the 6-7 Theus because Kevin Grevey was ejected from the game with 5:04 left.
Grevey, who led the Bullets with 22 points, was called for charging into Theus. Grevey was so incensed at the call, he slammed the ball off the floor. Official Bill Oakes gave him one technical for that. Grevey then stormed after the other official, Hugh Evans, who made the charging call, and cursed at him. Evans gave Grevey his second technical and the automatic ejection.
Grevey continued his tirade, though, pounding the ball again off the floor and even shoving Evans twice before he finally left the court.
Grevey is subject to an additional fine on top of the automatic $225 fine that goes with an ejection.
Theus made both technical foul shots for an 88-82 Chicago lead with 5:04 to play.
The Bullets came storming back with eight points, on four free throws by Hayes and baskets by Matthews and Wes Unseld, to tie the score at 90-90 with 2:13 remaining.
Theus, who finished with 23 points, put Chicago on top, 92-90, with a tap-in with 1:53 left, but Hayes tied the score again with two free throws with 1:37 remaining. That set the scene for the final minute's action.
This was the type of game in which Terry was sorely missed. It was physical and after Grevey's ejection the only guards the Bullets had left were Matthews, 5-11 Kevin Porter and 6-4 David Britton, who was signed to a 10-day contract only Monday.
Britton, a second-round draft choice of Dallas, from Texas A&M, was playing for Lehigh Valley of the Continential League when the Bullets signed him to take Bob Dandridge's place on the roster. Although in uniform last night, he didn't play.
Dandridge, out since Nov. 1 with a knee injury, was placed on the injured list.
The loss of Terry, one of the team's most versatile, aggressive and popular players, is a major blow.
Terry tore the cruciate ligament in his knee in Saturdayhs victory over the Indiana Pacers when his leg collapsed as he made a sharp cut toward the basket. Team physican Stan Lavine operated on Terry yesterday and said that Terry would be in a cast for six to eight weeks and almost certainly won't be able to play again this season.
"Carlos was one of those guys who really gave us a lift," said Bernie Bickerstaff, the assistant coach. "Just like Mitch (Kupchak), he was very active -- and active with results. He worked his way up from the last man to being almost indispensible. He was a key because he could play both guard and forward and when he came in, he'd block a shot, get a big rebound or something.
"Of all his qualities, though, one of the most important was that people feared him."