The Atlanta Hawks made the Beef Brothers angry yesterday. They shouldn't have done that.
When the bodies were cleared away, the Washington Bullets had won their second straight game, 102-91, and the Hawks' winning streak had ended at six.
Jeff Ruland had 25 points and 15 rebounds and Rick Mahorn 17 points and 17 rebounds.
They took no prisoners.
The Hawks, who had beaten the Bullets, 91-89, at the Omni Thursday, knew what to expect in the rematch at Capital Centre yesterday.
"Danny Roundfield told me he was wearing hip pads, and I felt them," said the Bullets' Carlos Terry. "He said the only time he wears them is when they play us."
The Hawks made their first seven shots and shot 70 percent in the first quarter, then led by 12 points early in the second period. The Bullets got back in the game by running the same play over and over--the two-down, in which Charles Davis, playing guard, posted up the smaller Atlanta defenders.
After closing within a point early in the third quarter, an incident between the Hawks' Tree Rollins and Mahorn--Rollins threw Mahorn to the floor--so fired the Bullets up that they outscored the Hawks, 21-9, in the last eight minutes of the quarter.
Coach Gene Shue of the Bullets ran out onto the floor, thinking a fight might erupt after the incident. Once he discovered that Mahorn was called for an offensive foul on the play, he became so incensed that official Bob Rakel called a technical foul on him.
Shue called a timeout. After a huddle near their bench, the Bullets returned to the floor and scored six points in 60 seconds. When Ruland took a pass beyond the three-point line, drove at Rollins and threw down a hook-dunk over the 7-foot-1 Atlanta center, it brought down the house of 7,025, and seemed to take the wind out of the Hawks.
"I was thinking dunk as soon as I got the ball," Ruland said.
"The skirmish and Jeff's dunk on Tree were the keys," Ricky Sobers said. "They lifted us and brought us together."
Sobers made a three-point shot at the end of the period to give the Bullets a 75-64 lead going into the fourth quarter, and the Hawks, despite making three three-point shots, never got closer than seven.
The Bullets outrebounded the Hawks, 49-28, and gave up little inside.
"Atlanta is one of the biggest teams in the league, but they aren't very physical and after awhile, when we got tough, they started shying away," Ruland said.
"This game was fun," said Terry.
Greg Ballard had a season-low four points, Don Colllins scored only two and the Bullets used only eight players. Besides Collins, the other two Bullets reserves all played key roles. Davis scored a season-high 19 points, 10 of them in the second quarter, and Terry had six points and six rebounds.
"We played great," Shue said. "In the second quarter we took advantage of their guards with that one post-up play and there was nothing they could do with it. That play brought us back."
Washington trailed by 12 with 4 minutes 35 seconds left in the half when they put the 6-foot-7 Davis at guard against 6-foot-2 Eddie Johnson and gave him room to work in the low post. Davis scored eight points off the play and the Bullets closed within three at halftime.
"That play was just working," said Davis. "When they put (Dominique) Wilkins on me, we switched positions and Carlos went down there with the small guard."
The Bullets (27-32) are a half-game behind Detroit and two games behind New York in the race for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"It's still uphill for us, but we're in the race," Shue said. "We're playing good basketball and I'm pleased, but it has to continue."