Otis Birdsong missed a short jump shot with five seconds left and Washington's Carlos Terry stripped Albert King of the basketball with two seconds left, allowing the Bullets to escape with a 95-93 victory over the New Jersey Nets tonight.
The Bullets' last exhibition game before their opener Friday at Indiana was watched by a sellout crowd of 10,250 at the Scope. Washington finished the exhibition season with a 5-1 record.
King retrieved Birdsong's missed shot five feet from the basket, but Terry batted the ball away as the former University of Maryland star tried to shoot.
New Jersey Coach Larry Brown contended Terry had fouled King and Norfolk police had to restrain him.
Birdsong's missed shot and the defensive play by Terry ended a hectic final two minutes in which both teams missed numerous opportunities.
The Bullets broke a 90-90 tie on baskets by Jeff Ruland and rookie Dave Batton, formerly of Notre Dame. The Nets' Len Elmore, another former Maryland star, made a basket and a foul shot to cut the lead to one with a minute remaining.
After both teams missed field goal attempts, Ruland increased the Bullets' lead to two by making one of two foul shots with 35 seconds remaining.
New Jersey's Darwin Cook missed a hook shot with 28 seconds left and the Bullets rebounded. But Frank Johnson double-dribbled with 13 seconds left, setting up New Jersey's last shot.
Washington had led by as many as nine points in the third quarter, but was outscored, 10-1, over a three-minute stretch and its lead dropped to a point.
Billy Ray Bates gave the Bullets a 68-59 lead with 3:23 left in the quarter, but King cut the lead to 70-69 on a 10-foot jump shot with two seconds remaining.
The Bullets once again appeared to be pulling away in the fourth period as Batton gave Washington an 82-73 lead on a layup with 7:02 left.
But New Jersey rallied again, with Birdsong tying the game at 90-90 with 2:50 remaining and setting up the seesaw finish.