The Washington Bullets, who lost to the National Basketball Association's best team Friday night, lost to its worst tonight.

The lowly Cleveland Cavaliers looked like world-beaters for a night as they whipped the Bullets soundly, 98-82, at the Coliseum.

It was only Cleveland's fifth victory in 33 games this season and it was witnessed by a sparse crowd of 2,385, but the Cavaliers left the floor to a prolonged standing ovation.

The Bullets lost by 17 to the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night at Capital Centre and they never looked like they were in the game tonight.

The Cavaliers jumped on them early, and seemed to play even harder when they sensed victory.

Scott Wedman was the main man for the Cavaliers as he made 14 of 18 shots from the field, including a three-pointer, and finished with a season-high 30 points. He also had seven rebounds and five assists.

World Free scored 22 points and the Cavaliers shot 54 percent from the field.

The Bullets shot 40 percent and went to the foul line only nine times, making six. They were also outrebounded, 50-38.

Greg Ballard scored 19 points, but made only nine of 24 shots. Dave Batton had his best game as a starter with 15.

The only other Bullet in double figures was John Lucas with 10, all in the fourth quarter.

Kevin Grevey made only two of 11 shots and Jeff Ruland failed to score in double figures for only the second time this year.

"We were completely outplayed," said Bullets Coach Gene Shue. "The Cavaliers played a really good game. Wedman was great. We knew Free would do some scoring and then they went out and played good defense against us, too.

"That team has talent and they are going to start winning some games, I think," he added.

"I was getting some great picks, especially in the first half," said Wedman. "I was getting the ball in different places and when you're feeling like I felt tonight, it doesn't matter where you get the ball. I think our defense was the key to the game, though."

The last time these two teams met, Dec. 21 at Capital Centre, the Bullets won, 77-74, in the lowest-scoring game in the NBA in eight seasons.

Tonight, both teams tried to play a faster pace.

The Bullets were leading, 13-11, when the Cavaliers outscored them, 10-2, to take a 21-15 lead. Wedman and Free had four points apiece in the spurt and the Cavaliers steadily pulled away.

The Bullets missed 20 of 29 shots in the first quarter.

Wedman, who scored 10 points in the first quarter, scored 12 more in the second and Cleveland moved to a 56-38 halftime lead. Wedman made 10 of 11 shots in the half and most of them were from long range.

A 13-3 scoring spurt with six different Cavaliers scoring increased a 31-25 lead to 44-28 with 4:18 left in the half.

Midway through the third period, the Bullets missed six straight shots and the Cavaliers got a 17-footer from Free and two 18-footers from Wedman, to increase their advantage to 26, 77-51.

Before tonight, Cleveland's only victories had been against Indiana twice, Kansas City and Golden State.

"The Bullets are a good team and we needed to beat a good team," said Wedman, a 6-foot-7 small forward who came to the Cavaliers last year as a $700,000-a-year free agent. "They aren't as good as L.A. or Philadelphia, but they're a good team."

The defeat dropped the Bullets to 17-16. They don't play again until Wednesday when they face Detroit at the Silverdome.