The Washington Bullets, continuing to exhibit a strong defense, won their third consecutive NBA preseason game tonight at the Civic Center, defeating the Dallas Mavericks, 110-91.
The team also took advantage of a balanced offense in the victory. Cliff Robinson led the team with 18 points, Gus Williams had 17 and Perry Moss 14. Five other Bullets scored at least six points, and Charles Jones had just one point but contributed eight rebounds.
The Mavericks were led by Mark Aguirre's 21 points.
"I thought we played well overall. We just have to keep moving ahead," said Bullets Coach Gene Shue. "We always try to emphasize defense, but this year, we can be really good at it."
Washington's half-court trap was once again particularly effective. Dallas Coach Dick Motta called the ploy "an out-and-out zone," but conceded its usefulness.
"We haven't worked against the trap this year, so it confused us a bit, but we had trouble with a few things," he said.
One of those things was Manute Bol. Although he blocked "only" three shots, his presence was felt at the defensive end. During his 22 minutes, Dallas shot only 23 percent from the field. For the rest of the night, it hit at 59 percent.
Bol was by no means all alone on the floor for Washington, however. "We're all just playing great defense," said forward Darren Daye, who had 10 points and four rebounds in 12 minutes. "You could see the difference in intensity between us and Dallas."
This game was won in the second quarter. Washington led, 29-26, after the initial 12 minutes but jumped ahead by as many as 18 points in the second. The Mavericks made only five of 21 shots from the field in the quarter, and the Bullets led at halftime, 55-38.
Two of the game's most entertaining moments came during the second quarter. Bol, heretofore passive on offense, moved strongly to the basket but missed a driving layup. The rebound was taken by Moss, who returned the basketball to the 7-foot-7 center. A second later, Bol had his first slam dunk in the NBA.
First-round draft choice Kenny Green also dazzled with a swooping layup after a drive from one end of the floor to the other. Green, the No. 12 pick overall in last June's draft, had his strongest performance to date, with nine points and four rebounds.
The Bullets increased their margin in the third quarter, going ahead by as many as 22 points. Robinson scored 10 points in that span, with Williams adding nine. The guard gave the crowd of 9,108 one of its biggest thrills at the end of the quarter when he hit a shot that traveled over three-quarters of the court. Unfortunately for Washington, the basket was disallowed because the buzzer had sounded.
But that was just about the only thing to go awry for the Bullets, who will travel to Ruston, La., for a rematch against the Mavericks on Monday night.
"We just want to build on what we're doing," said Shue.