This one was over almost as soon as it started.
The Boston Celtics, still smarting from a two-point loss to the Bullets at Capital Centre Monday night, got all the revenge they wanted tonight, scoring the first 14 points and routing the Bullets, 125-99, at Boston Garden.
It was the Bullets' 10th loss in 11 games and second-worst defeat this season. They will play another of the NBA's struggling teams Thursday night when they host the Seattle SuperSonics at 8:10.
"We had a fantastic game against the Celtics Monday, but with a day to practice and on their court, they were ready this time," said Washington Coach Gene Shue.
"They took control of the game; they forced turnovers and they had their offense rolling. It was all Celtics tonight."
And all the Celtics were involved, too.
Every player Coach Bill Fitch used scored at least seven points. The only ones who didn't play were Cedric Maxwell, out with the flu, and Rick Robey, who has a bad back.
Eight Celtics scored in double figures, with Kevin McHale, starting for Maxwell, leading with 21 points. He also had 13 rebounds, four blocked shots, three steals and four assists.
Boston made 57 percent of its shots, the Bullets 40 percent. Frank Johnson led Washington with 15 points, 13 assists and four steals.
"They (the Celtics) played the game they wanted to play," said Greg Ballard. "They were aggressive on defense, played our passing lanes and got their running game together."
The Bullets missed their first seven shots and committed three turnovers while the Celtics opened with their 14-0 run. Larry Bird and McHale led the way at that point.
Bird first threw a blind pass inside to McHale for an easy basket; then he and McHale combined on a give-and-go play, with Bird getting a layup. Then, with his back to the basket, Bird passed the ball back over his head to McHale for a short jumper and a quick 6-0 lead that had the capacity crowd of 15,320 on its feet and the Bullets calling for a timeout.
But the Celtics scored eight more points while the Bullets turned over the ball three times and missed three more shots. Shue again called time.
The Bullets finally scored when Charles Davis made a 17-foot jump shot with 3:50 gone.
With Ballard scoring 10 points, the Bullets settled down for a bit and cut the lead to eight points with a minute left. The Celtics pushed it back to 10 by the time the period ended.
Things got worse for the Bullets in the second quarter. They turned over the ball in their first five possessions and Boston scored 10 straight points to build its lead to 44-24.
The Bullets didn't even take a shot the first two minutes of the quarter and didn't score a point until it was nearly 3 minutes old.
The Celtics took a 27-point lead after a 12-0 run midway through the third quarter. Quinn Buckner had eight points and Bird four as the Bullets went scoreless for another three-minute stretch.
This was the first game for the Bullets since they cut guard John Lucas Tuesday. That elevated Warrick to the backup play making guard spot, at least temporarily.
Ricky Sobers, who was signed as a free agent Monday, didn't play against the Celtics at Capital Centre that night. His first game as a Bullet was tonight. He played 22 minutes and had 12 points, four assists, four rebounds and a steal.