The Washington Bullets blew a 23-point lead last night and the Kansas City Kings, shooting 70 percent in the fourth quarter, stunned them and a Capital Centre crowd of 4,827 with a 117-115 victory. The winning points came when Ray Williams made a 10-foot base line jump shot off an inbounds play with one second left as he was being fouled by Ricky Sobers.
Williams's field goal gave the Kings a 116-115 lead and his ensuing free throw accounted for the margin of victory.
After calling a timeout ,the Bullets were able to get off one last shot, but Sobers' three-point, 35-foot effort was off line.
The Bullets used their new starting lineup with Greg Ballard at power forward and Charles Davis at small forward. It worked as the Bullets suddenly became a running team. They scored 65 points in the first half and shot a season-high 59 percent for the game.
They appeared to be in total control when they moved to a 95-72 lead with 76 seconds left in the third period.
But the Kings, who had lost six in a row, outscored the Bullets, 45-20, the rest of the game. Eddie Johnson, Mike Woodson and Williams combined for Kansas City's last 30 points and, among them, made 13 of 17 shots. Johnson was six for seven, Woodson, four for six and Williams, three for four.
The Bullets hurt themselves, too, missing 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter.
"A couple of free throws in the right places and this wouldn't have even been a game," said Bullets Coach Gene Shue.
A 10-footer by Woodson, who finished with 28 points, one free throw by Eddie Johnson and a fast-break basket by Woodson after an assist from Williams got the Kings within two points with 1:19 remaining.
Jeff Ruland made one of two free throws after he was fouled by LaSalle Thompson 12 seconds later to give the Bullets a 115-112 lead.
Eddie Johnson then sank a 20-foot jump shot with 53 seconds left. After Rick Mahorn and Williams missed jump shots, Ruland was fouled by Williams with 13 seconds left. He missed both shots and Thompson rebounded.
The Kings hurried the ball upcourt, but Greg Ballard knocked a pass that Thompson had intended for Eddie Johnson out of bounds with three seconds to play.
The Kings called time out and set a play for Williams.
Johnson inbounded the ball from under the basket and found Williams free along the left base line after the man guarding him, Sobers, got caught on a pick set by Thompson.
"When I got the ball I thought about putting it on the floor to get a better angle," said Williams, "but the way things have been going, I thought I'd better just put it right up."
Sobers said he was expecting Williams to go toward the ball and not away from it, as he did.
"They set a back screen, and Ray faked going that way and then ran a misdirection and got another back screen and got open," said Sobers. "I got over there a little late and went up with him and they said I fouled him. They ran a good play and he made a heck of a shot."
Said Williams: "We felt we could beat Sobers on that play because everytime I made a move he was playing me tight and going for the first fake."
"We played a pretty good overall game," said Shue. "We ran well and had control of the game, but what lost it was a clear case of missed free throws."
Mahorn missed four free throws in the fourth quarter and Ruland, five.
Don Collins, who had missed the previous 17 games with a stress fracture in his left foot, was activated yesterday. He played 10 minutes and made all four of his shots.