During the time Gus Williams played with the Seattle SuperSonics, neither Gerald Henderson nor Ricky Sobers played with him and forward Tom Chambers called the guard a teammate for just one season. Perhaps that was the reason the threesome appeared less than awed at the homecoming of Williams, now with the Washington Bullets.
Combining for 67 points -- 34 by Chambers -- the triumvirate led Seattle to a 109-94 victory over the Bullets, spoiling Williams' return. With 12,203, many lured out by Williams, looking on, he mustered only 11 points.
"If Gus had been a little more in the groove with maybe not so much hoopla about the game it might have helped, but we weren't very good at all tonight," Bullets Coach Gene Shue said.
The Bullets were victimized by 41 percent shooting in falling to 28-25, while Seattle (21-30) shot 51 percent. One of the few bright spots for Washington was the return of forward Cliff Robinson. After missing 15 games, he scored 18 points.
Ovations for Williams and booing of the Sonics started the moment Seattle Coach Lenny Wilkens and General Manager Les Habegger walked onto the court during a pregame presentation to Williams, a former Seattle mainstay.
"I was never too excited," Williams said. "I wish that I could have been more so. It was great to see all the people here tonight. I was disappointed we didn't play well and that I myself didn't play well, but it was a great feeling tonight. I wish I could get it every night."
It was fitting that Williams took the initial shot of the game and significant that it missed. The Bullets fell behind when Henderson, who replaced Williams in the Sonics lineup and was guarded by Williams, hit a jumper.
Washington trailed, 6-0, after baskets by Chambers and Danny Vranes, causing Shue to take a timeout at 10:17. Following a turnover by each team, Williams missed his second shot, a three-point attempt.
It wasn't until 9:17 was left in the period that Washington scored, on two free throws by Jeff Malone. Twenty-seven seconds later, Williams hit a full-court driving layup and 32 seconds after that he made a jumper over Henderson that tied the game.
With 5:09 left in the opening period, the Bullets taking their first lead, 12-11, on a basket by Greg Ballard.
When Chambers was fouled while scoring on a dunk at 4:06, Shue took the opportunity to insert Robinson. In keeping with the Bullets' recent luck, Robinson was poked in the eye while gathering his first rebound.
The blow wasn't serious and Washington went on to take a 21-20 lead at the end of the quarter, its final score coming on a three-point shot by Ballard. For the period, the Bullets shot just 36 percent with Seattle not much better at 40 percent.
A 12-4 tear gave the Sonics a 38-31 lead with 7:36 to play in the half.
Following a Washington timeout, Robinson had a three-point play to close to 38-34, but Seattle scored eight straight, half of them by Sobers, who was part of the draft-day maneuvering that brought Williams to Washington last June.
The Bullets' cold shooting continued, while the Sonics, led by Sobers, continued to heat up, as they shot 81 percent for the quarter and led, 58-41, at halftime.
With Rick Mahorn and Tom McMillen in foul trouble, Chambers continued to dominate inside and with less than three minutes left in the period, Seattle led, 80-59.
The Bullets scored the first four points of the final quarter, Guy Williams and Robinson making layups, bringing the score to 84-67 and causing Wilkens to take a timeout.
Chambers then hit two free throws and Sobers another to restore the home team's 20-point lead. After a Robinson jumper, Chambers and Sobers combined for six points and with 7:04 to play, Seattle led 93-69.
Trail Blazers 111, Celtics 103: Darnell Valentine scored 23 points and Jim Paxson and Clyde Drexler had 21 each as Portland, leading by 26 points in the first half, won at home.
Jazz 122, Warriors 110: Thurl Bailey's 12 fourth-quarter points boosted Utah at home. Bailey had replaced Adrian Dantley (35 points). A hamstring injury sidelined Dantley for the final 10 minutes.
Lakers 121, Clippers 110: In Inglewood, Calif., the Lakers took a 21-2 lead and Magic Johnson had 23 points and 12 assists and Byron Scott had 25 points and eight steals. The Lakers have beaten the Clippers in all five meetings this season.