Bullets Coach Gene Shue said yesterday no disciplinary action will be taken against veteran guard John Lucas, who failed to show up for practice on Friday.
Lucas was fined $250 and Shue said yesterday "the matter is closed. It's old news as far as I'm concerned. I don't hold grudges against players, so I'm not going to punish John, but Bryan Warrick will start playing more. It has a lot to do with reliability and responsibility."
Warrick, who started three games earlier this season before being benched, played only two minutes in the nine games prior to the game against the New York Knicks Saturday. He played 10 minutes, but didn't score in New York. Lucas, the backup playmaker until that game, played only five minutes. "I think Bryan is ready to play more now," said Shue. "I'm always going to do what I think is best for the team."
Warrick said he was looking forward to getting more playing time. "I just hope I'm more productive than I was before," he said.
The Bullets will play the Chicago Bulls in Chicago tonight (WDCA-TV-20 at 8:30). In the Bullets' first game of the season against Chicago, Warrick had his best game. He scored 11 points and had 14 assists. That was also Frank Johnson's finest performance of the season. The second-year guard scored a career-high 36 points and had 11 assists, eight steals and no turnovers.
Perhaps no team in the NBA has changed as much in one season as the Bulls. Traditionally a slowdown, defensive-minded team, the new Bulls under Coach Paul Westhead have turned into a wild bunch of runners and gunners. They aren't winning more, but they are an entertaining team with one of the league's best one-on-one players in Reggie Theus.
The Bullets scored a season-high 143 points against the Bulls in their first meeting, but Shue said he doesn't see that happening tonight.
"You have to throw out that last game because it was a fluke," said Shue. "We aren't approaching the game thinking we can run with them and outscore them. We want them to play our game."
The Bulls (8-14) are third in the league in scoring, averaging 117.5 points a game. They are next to last in defense, giving up 122.2.
Everything they do offensively revolves around Theus, their 6-foot-7 shooting guard. Playing in the old Chicago system, he averaged 18.5 points and shot 48 percent from the field while never missing a game in four seasons. His career high before this season was 36 points.
Now, Theus is fourth in the NBA in scoring with a 27.2 average, hitting 55 percent. He also has made 12 of 24 three-point shots and scored 40 or more points four times.
"I feel like I've been set free," said Theus. "I've had to change my entire outlook on the game. The past few seasons I've had to curtail my game and slow down, which isn't my natural style, and now, all of a sudden, I can cut loose again. I just think it's going to take a little time for us to get used to playing that type of game."
After scoring a season-low 79 points in a loss to the Knicks Saturday, the Bullets (10-11) were given a day off Sunday, then Shue ran them hard in practice yesterday. "It's going to be a fast-paced game, and I don't want us getting tired," he said.
Greg Ballard, who had a sore back, did not work out yesterday. He is expected to start tonight, however.