The Washington Bullets came out flat tonight and by the time they got their game together it was too late as they lost for the second straight time, the Seattle SuperSonics winning this one, 108-99, in the Kingdome.
James Bailey led a balanced Seattle attach with 17 points and Fred Brown and Vinnie Johnson had 16 each as the Sonics broke a six-game losing streak. a
Greg Ballard led the Bullets with 28 points and Mitch Kupchak had 19.
The Bullets fell behind by 19 points in the first half before closing to three in the last period. But they could get no closer and Seattle pulled away again midway through the quarter.
Not only did the Bullets lose the game, they may have lost Elvin Hayes for awhile as well. Because of a hip pointer, he played only 17 minutes, getting six points and five rebounds.
"They can't do anything about it," Hayes said. "It's the nerve on top of the hip and I couldn't jump or pivot off it. It's really frustrating. I'm used to playing, but now I'm thinking about the injury and it's throwing my timing off."
With Hayes sidelined and Wes Unseld still hobbled, the Bullets were outrebounded, 57-42. The Sonics also outdid them from the foul line, 32-15.
Kevin Grevey, hampered by a sore wrist on his shooting arm, made only two of 10 shots. So, once again, the scoring burden fell on Ballard. He delivered, but he couldn't carry the load by himself.
This was the second stop on the Bullets' seven-game trip. They lost the first game, in Portland, in overtime, Tuesday night. They have a day off Thursday, then play the Golden State Warriors in Oakland Friday night (WDCA-TV-20, 11 p.m.).
The Bullets missed 13 of their first 18 shots and fell behind, 25-10, after Seattle ran off 10 straight points midway through the first quarter. Johnson started the Seattle flurry with a driving layup.
After a Bullet miss, Bailey scored on an incredible dunk shot. It came on a fast break, with the 6-foot-9 Bailey taking off near the foul line, bringing the ball back down and double pumping before he jammed it.
All-star Paul Westphal, rumored to be on the trading block, had four points in that spurt.
The Bullets shot only 38 percent in that period and trailed, 33-20, going into the second quarter. Then they missed their first six shots of that period.
Seattle steadily increased its lead and, after a free throw by Westphal and Bailey's two field goals, led by 17, at 51-34. The lead grew to 59-40 with 36 seconds left in the half, but the Bullets scored six straight points before the half ended to trail, 59-46.
Ballard, who had an NBA career-high 38 points in Portland, made two free throws before Kevin Porter stole an inbounds pass. Ballard canned a jumper from the deep corner and Austin Carr stole Jack Sikma's pass and swished a 17-footer as the half ended.
The Bullets shot 36 percent in the half and not one of them was in double figures. Bailey had 13 and Johnson 12 for the Sonics.
The Bullets were sluggish most of the half and Coach Gene Shue shuttled in players until he found a combination he liked. All 11 Bullets saw action before intermission and all except Rick Mahorn scored.
The Bullets scored on each of their first seven possessions of the third period and cut Seattle's lead to 65-61 on Kupchak's three-point play. Kupchak had seven of his team's first 15 points of the period.
The Sonics still were nursing a four-point edge at 69-65 when Sikma scored on a turnaround jumper and Bill Hanzlik made two free throws to get the lead back to eight points.
Seattle led, 82-75 going into the fourth quarter.
Ballard opened the last period with a 20-footer and, after Hanzlik missed, Austin Carr's jumper made the score 82-79.