Bullets General Manager Bob Ferry called it "the best all-around game I can ever remember a guard of ours having."

Coach Gene Shue said it was "incredible. He took the ball wherever he wanted and did with it whatever he felt like doing."

Bulls rookie Quintin Dailey just said, "Wow. So that was Frank Johnson, huh?"

Johnson had almost a dream game Saturday night as he helped the Bullets even their record at 1-1 with a 143-125 victory over the Bulls at Chicago Stadium. Johnson's statistics were amazing: 32 minutes, nine of 16 field goals, 18 of 19 free throws, eight rebounds, 11 assists, eight steals, one blocked shot, 36 points and no turnovers.

"The turnovers is the most unbelievable thing," said Assistant Coach Bernie Bickerstaff, "especially when you consider how much he handled the ball."

Johnson, a second-year Bullet guard, established career highs for points scored, free throws attempted and made, rebounds and steals. His 36 points are the most scored by a Bullet since Greg Ballard scored 38 against Portland in the 1980-81 season.

"Now that's what we expect from you every night," Shue told Johnson.

Johnson, who had only 10 points, all in the fourth quarter, in Friday's 93-90 loss to the Indiana Pacers, attributed much of his success against the Bulls to rookie teammate Bryan Warrick.

With Warrick, a guard, assuming more of the ball-handling duties, Johnson was able to concentrate on other parts of his game. "When I'm playing with Bryan, I can free-style," said Johnson. "I just look for my shot. Before I had to set up my teammates first and look for the shot second."

Warrick, a 6-5 rookie from St. Joseph's, had 14 assists, 11 points and only one turnover in 31 minutes against Chicago.

"They could be the best pair of guards we've ever had," said Bickerstaff. "They're smart, they listen, they handle the ball well and they seem to do the right things most of the time. They work so well together, too."

The 143 points the Bullets scored are three short of the franchise record 146 they scored against the Denver Nuggets Jan. 6, 1978.

The Bullets have one more road game, Tuesday in Atlanta, before their home opener Wednesday against the New Jersey Nets.

Last season, the Bullets lost their first three games and didn't reach .500 until Jan. 17, when they were 19-19.

"We had an excuse for a slow start last year, because we were learning to play a different style," said Ballard. "We can't use that excuse this year."