The Washington Bullets are starting to get the type of reputation Coach Gene Shue doesn't like.
"We're like the new kid on the block. Everybody wants to beat up on us," Shue said of his team, which has lost four games in a row and is 3-8 for the season.
"Detroit was really alive when we came to town and I got that same feeling when we played the Bulls."
The Pistons defeated the Bullets by 25 points at the Silverdome last Thursday and the Bulls handed them a 117-105 defeat Saturday night at Chicago Stadium. Also included in the four-game losing streak are losses to Milwaukee and Houston at Capital Centre.
Shue has changed his starting lineup and tried just about every combination of players without much success.
His latest lineup features a front line of Rick Mahorn and Greg Ballard at forwards and Jim Chones at center.
"I'm just trying to come up with something that works," Shue said. "Chones is an experienced player so it should help us. He's also been playing well lately and earned the chance to start."
Mahorn had been playing center and rookie Charlie Davis the small forward and Ballard power forward. With Chones in the lineup, Ballard has been moved back to small forward and Mahorn has gone to power forward.
Ballard has responded with 22- and 28 points, respectively, his last two games, but the Bullets still came up losers.
That lineup is supposed to give the Bullets more rebounding, but it certainly didn't against the Bulls. The Bullets had a season-low 26 rebounds and allowed Chicago to get 46. Chones led his team with eight rebounds, but missed both shots from the floor in 33 minutes.
Shue said he thought about starting Don Collins, his most proficient scorer per minutes played, but fears the Bullets would get virtually no rebounds with Collins and Ballard at forward and would have some defensive problems.
"I just couldn't go with a Collins-Ballard setup," Shue said. "Don fits the role of a running small forward fine, but his weakness is on defense and in running the plays. He's working real hard, though, and getting better, but for now we'll stay with the other lineup."
He added: "We need a star. We need someone who can get us some points on his own. Almost all of our players either have to post up or get their shots off the set offense."
No. 1 draft choice Frank Johnson has shown lately that he could be that star. He had troubles with turnovers and his shooting earlier in the season, but Johnson has settled down the past week and become one of the Bullets' most consistent scorers.
He had a career-high 23 points against the Bulls, made four long jump shots and penetrated and scored inside when the opportunites were there. He also had four assists, two steals and only one turnover in 27 minutes.