The Washington Bullets probably will do more experimenting than Mr. Wizard the last four games of the season, starting tonight when the Bullets meet the New York Knicks at 8 o'clock at Capital Centre.
"I want to see which combinations of players will work, but I also want to win," Coach Gene Shue said.
In the past few weeks Shue has tried practically every lineup imagineable, including one that featured Kevin Grevey and Don Collins together in the back court.
Meanwhile, Knick Coach Red Holzman says he is through experimenting. All he wants to do is hone his team for the playoffs.
The Knicks clinched a playoff spot two weeks ago and have the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference of the NBA behind Philadelphia, Boston and Milwaukee. They will have the home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs against either Chicago or Indiana.
The Knicks are led by guards Ray Williams and Michael Ray Richardson, both among the league leaders in steals and assists. The other New York starters are center Bill Cartwright and forwards Campy Russell and Sly Williams.
Bullets center Wes Unseld, who will retire at the end of the season, is again listed as questionable for tonight's game because of a sore right knee. He missed Sunday's 121-101 victory over the Atlanta Hawks at Capital Centre that broke a five-game Bullet losing streak.
If Unseld can't play against the Knicks, rookie Rick Mahorn will start. In 33 minutes against the Hawks, Mahorn had 10 points, eight rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot. Shue said he plans for Mahorn to be his center next season. Unseld thinks Mahorn can handle the job.
"I've worked a great deal with Rick because I know he's the one who will take my place," Unseld said, "and I want to teach him everything I can. If he willing to work this summer, I can't think of anyone coming out of college of who the Bullets could get who has any more tools than Rick does."
Another Bullet who has closed the season with a rush is Mitch Kupchak, who has scored 23 points in each of the last two games.
After tonight's game, the Bullets play Friday night in Indianapolis against the Indiana Pacers, then end the season with a Saturday night game at Capital Centre against the Detroit Pistons and a Sunday night game, also at Capital Centre, against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sunday also will be Wes Unseld Appreciation Night and his last game in a Bullet uniform.