Coach Gene Shue said he will be concentrating on defense today when the Washington Bullets resume practice in hopes of breaking out of a slump that brought six losses in their last eight games.
Shue said the Bullets "played like a tired team" Saturday night in losing to the Atlanta Hawks, 119-101, at the Omni.
Five of the losses in the skid have come on the road, dropping Washington's record away from Capital Centre to 4-10. The Bullets are 16-13 overall, trailing the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Celtics by 7 1/2 games. The Bullets next play at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, when the Indiana Pacers visit Capital Centre.
The Bullets' last eight games were played within 11 days. They yielded 108.5 points per game in that stretch, holding the opposition under 100 on only two occasions (an 85-82 loss to Utah on Dec. 11 and a 104-95 victory over the New Jersey Nets last Tuesday).
"We really haven't had a chance to practice at all during this stretch," Shue said. "We are going to practice Monday and work on a few things, especially defense."
Shue said he found few positive things in the loss to the Hawks, whom the Bullets allowed to shoot 59 percent from the floor. He said he plans no immediate lineup changes and will continue to start Jeff Malone in place of Dudley Bradley at second guard.
Encouraging was the play of center Rick Mahorn, who as a substitute scored 10 points and got 13 rebounds in 26 minutes in Atlanta.
Shue had an after-practice talk with Mahorn late last week, but does not believe that had any influence on his inspired play.
"I talk to all the players individually all the time," said Shue. "It was really nothing, but Rick did play much better."