Kevin Porter has been back in the Washington Bullet starting lineup for about 15 games now and he is beginning to play with his old verve.
He scored 25 points and contributed 15 assists (tying his season high set against the Lakers Wednesday night) as the Bullets defeated an undermanned Detroit Piston team, 106-89.
In the last four games, Porter has hit 33 of 55 field goals, well over 60 percent, and the Bullets have won their last two games after a slow start in January.
With Wes Unseld and Kevin Grevey on the bench -- Unseld with tendinitis and Grevey because he had a toenail surgically removed this morning -- Porter took command of the Bullets.
"He played a great game," said Scotty Robertson, the Piston head coach. "He penetrated and got the ball to the scorers. And, on defense, he laid off our guards so they couldn't penetrate."
The game was close all the way with neither team leading by more than six points until the last two minutes. Porter broke it open with a lob pass to Elvin Hayes, who scored 28 points to lead the Bullets. Following Hayes' basket, Porter hit a pair of free throws with 1:51 to play to put the Bullets in front, 96-88.
Detroit's Kent Benson made a free throw, which proved to be the Pistons' last point, and Mitch Kupchak followed with a three-point play off an offensive rebound.
After that, Porter scored six straight points, all on breakaway layups, to secure the victory.
"I'm pretty well satisfied with what I'm doing," said Porter. "With all the injuries we've had, it's been hard to beat better teams. We beat L.A. the other night and that was a highlight."
"In the first half, Detroit did an excellent job of taking us out of the game," said Bullet Coach Gene Shue, who, like Porter, is an ex-Piston. "In the second half, we ran the delayed break and we were freeing Anthony Roberts or Hayes every time and KP made some great passes to Hayes for layups."
Roberts, recently signed to his second 10-day contract, scored 17 points, nine of them in the third quarter when the Bullets edged ahead, 74-72.
Only Keith Herron seemed to keep the Pistons, playing with only eight able bodies, in the game. He had a career high of 29 points, including jumpers at the buzzer at the end of the first and second quarters.
"It feels great to play in the NBA," said Roberts, who sank eight of 11 floor shots and had nine rebounds in a rare starting role.
The victory was Washington's fourth straight over the Pistons this season. Detroit, mired in last place in the Central Division, has lost seven in a row.
The Pistons played without Bob McAdoo (bruised foot), John Long (pulled hamstring), Larry Wright (pulled groin muscle) and Greg Kelser, who is on the injured list.
Earlier in the day, the Bullets signed free agent center Lewis Brown to a 10-day contract to fill in for Rick Mahorn, who fractured his right hand in Dallas January 10.