Coach Gene Shue said he wants Rick Mahorn to look for his shot more this season. The Bullets' center did so tonight in helping Washington to an impressive 104-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in their National Basketball Association exhibition at Frederick Community College.
Mahorn made seven of nine shots from the field on his way to 18 points. Six of the field goals were 12- to 15-foot jump shots, the kind Mahorn passed up much of last season.
"That's my shot," said Mahorn, "and I'm going to take it when I get it. I'm more relaxed now than I was last year and that helps a lot. I don't feel any pressure."
"That's the shot teams are giving Rick now, and he has to take it," Shue put in. "We're trying to get all of our players to take the open shot. Our offense is designed to get everyone those shots, so when they are there, we have to take them and we have to make them."
Mahorn also had seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
The Cavaliers outscored the Bullets, 38-19, in the final quarter and still lost by nine. Washington broke open the game with a 22-6 scoring spree in the second quarter to build a 20-point lead.
Jeff Ruland had eight of those points. His 16-footer on an assist from Kevin Porter gave the Bullets a 46-30 lead and then Ruland, Porter and Billy Ray Bates combined on a picture-perfect play for another basket. Porter threw a blind pass to Ruland at the high post and Ruland bounced a back-door pass to a cutting Bates for a layup. The next time down the floor, Ruland fed Charles Davis for a successful jump shot.
Ruland, Davis and Bates each had eight points in the second period. Porter scored two and had five assists as he played well for the second straight game.
Mahorn scored 13 points in the third quarter.
Ruland was the only Washington player other than Mahorn to score in double figures, with 15 points, but all 15 Bullets who suited up scored.
Guard Bryan Warrick, who was doubtful with a thigh bruise, played the first quarter and had five points and two assists.
Shue started four units, one each quarter, and made no other substitutions.
"We played very, very well," he said. "The areas we were trying to improve were getting back on defense, seeing the ball and overplaying. We did well in all those areas. We just had an excellent game. We've gotten better each time out."
The Bullets, now with a 2-1 exhibition record, play the Cavaliers again Wednesday in Ashland, Ohio.
Cleveland's Bill Musselman coached as if it were regular season. Scott Wedman played 46 minutes, Lowes Moore 40 and James Edwards 31. Wedman had a fine all-around game with 24 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and two steals.