The Bullets had their fast break in high gear last night and they used it to race by the methodical Houston Rockets, 115-97, at Capital Centre.
The Bullets outscored the Rockets, 28-6, on fast break opportunities and scored many more points by hurrying the ball upcourt and getting into their offense before the Rocket defense could get set.
Kevin Grevey ended a three-game shooting slump, leading the Bullets with 29 points. Grevey had made 11 of 38 shots in the three previous games, but converted 11 of 16 attempts, including two for two on three-point shots last night.
The Bullets got a boost when Wes Unseld played after missing the previous game with a sprained ankle.
Moses Malone led the Rockets with 26 points and 18 rebounds, but he could never get in a groove and most of his points came when Houston was too far down to catch up.
The Bullets continued their revolving door approach with the last two spots on their roster. Just before game time they released Keith McCord and signed Anthony Roberts to a 10 day contract.
McCord's 10 day contract expired yesterday and the Bullets decided not to renew it.
Friday they decided the same thing with David Britton, opting to sign Andre McCarter in his place.
McCarter and Roberts have a much better chance to stick than Britton and McCord, because both have National Basketball Association experience.
Roberts, from Oral Roberts, is a former No. 1 draft choice of Denver in 1977. He played 2 1/2 seasons with the Nuggets before being released. He was playing for Scranton in the Continental League this year when the Bullets signed him. He was averaging 22.2 points a game and shooting 51 percent.
Both McCarter and Roberts played last night. Roberts didn't score, but McCarter had four points and an assist in two minutes.
"He (McCarter) stepped right in and made the smart plays," said Coach Gene Shue. "That's what we're looking for."
Grevey scored 13 of his points in the first quarter as the Bullets moved to a 29-24 lead. A Grevey three point shot increased the advantage to 36-26 a minute and a half into the second quarter and for all intents and purposes, the Rockets were done. They never made a serious run at the Bullets after that.
Wes Matthews came on to score 12 points in the second period and the Bullets maintained that 10 point lead at intermission.
Houston missed its first 10 shots of the third quarter as the Bullets ran off 11 straight points, four by Elvin Hayes and seven by Grevey, to take a 21 point lead at 69-48.
"I really enjoy a game like that," said Shue, as his team won its second straight laugher. "This is one of the few times we've gotten a cushion early and maintained it."
Hayes finished with 18 points.Matthews, Greg Ballard and Mitch Kupchak all had 15.
Gevey was the big man, though.
"I felt it warming up," the Bullet guard said. "I felt loose and so I started looking for my shot more than usual and KP (Kevin Porter) and Wes started running plays for me. I had been struggleing on my jumper, but tonight was one of those nights when it was right."
Grevey's shooting slump started after the game against Chicago when he had a run in with official Hugh Evans. Grevey was ejected and later fined and suspended for one game for making physical contact with Evans. He is appealing the suspension and has yet to miss a game.
"A lot of things have been on my mind since then." Grevey said. "Tonight I felt rested and relaxed, though."
The Rockets offense is basically to get the ball low to Malone or let Rudy Tomjanovich or Calvin Murphy throw up a bomb.
Tomjanovich made four of 11 and Murphy six of 16.
The biggest surprise from the Rockets was probably that Murphy missed two free throws. He had missed only three all season before last night, having made 83 of 86 and leading the league, shooting 96 per cent.
When he missed the free throws in the third period, he looked at the basket is disbelief.