It's a basic inbounding play the Bullets call "Milwaukee."

They have so much confidence in it, and it is so automatic in some situations, like the one that faced them last night with two seconds to play and the score tied, that they didn't even need a timeout to set it up.

They ran it perfectly. Greg Ballard made the throw-in to Jeff Ruland and cut to the corner behind a screen by Rick Mahorn, received a return pass from Ruland, and shot. The final horn sounded as the ball left Ballard's hand and it swished through the net a second later.

The Bullets had won, 89-87, over the Chicago Bulls before 5,821 at Capital Centre.

"Ricky set a great screen and Jeff threw me a perfect pass," said Ballard. "The easiest part of the whole play was making the shot."

Ballard, coming off a season-high 37-point performance Christmas night, struggled through the first three quarters against Chicago, making one of eight shots.

But the fourth quarter was his. He made five of six shots and scored 10 of his 14 points in the final 6 1/2 minutes.

Mark Olberding made two free throws, after he was fouled by Ruland, to give the Bulls an 87-83 lead with 1:26 remaining.

Mahorn scored on a dunk off a pass from Kevin Porter on the Bullets' next possession, then Ballard then rebounded Olberding's miss with 58 seconds to play.

Ballard made a 15-footer to tie the score at 87 with 0:42 to play.

On Chicago's next possession, Orlando Woolridge missed a short shot and Dave Corzine, who had a career-high 22 rebounds, failed on a tapin try with Mahorn finally getting the rebound for the Bullets at 0:23.

After a timeout, Porter held the ball outside until seven seconds remained, then drove toward the basket. He tried to force a pass inside to Mahorn, but Woolridge knocked it out of bounds with two seconds left.

Shue jumped off the bench and started to signal for a timeout, but then just yelled out "Milwaukee, Milwaukee!" instead.

The Bullets on the floor were yelling the same thing at each other.

"We had a timeout left, but that play is automatic and it was the perfect time to run it," said Shue.

Ballard took the ball out of bounds to the right of the basket. As soon as he threw it out front to Ruland, Mahorn came over and screened Ballard's man, Olberding, which freed Ballard in the left corner.

"The key was Jeff's pass," said Ballard. "He threw it right where I could handle it: chest high. I had nothing but confidence the whole time. I didn't even think about it. I just went up and shot it."

The Bullets struggled virtually the entire game and seemed to be in foul trouble almost from the beginning.

They went into the game without Don Collins, who has a bruised foot, but Kevin Grevey, in his first start this season, responded with a season-high 22 points, making 10 of 21 shots. He had made only one of his last 17 in the previous two games.

Mahorn played a strong game inside and had 15 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots.

The Bulls, who earlier in the season just ran up the floor and threw the ball at the basket and made little attempt to play defense, have changed their focus lately and their defensive pressure bothered the Bullets.

"They were jumping in the passing lanes and it took us out of our offense," said Ballard.

The Bulls scored only 12 points in the fourth quarter and committed 12 of their 21 turnovers in that period.

Guard Reggie Theus and Corzine, the former Bullet, had 18 each, but only two each in the fourth period.

Rookie Quintin Dailey, making his first start of the season, had 17 for the Bulls.

The Bullets ended a two-game losing streak and rose two games above .500, at 15-13.