When the Chicago Bulls take the court at Capital Centre tonight at 6, you can expect them to try to get the Washington Bullets into the type of game they play best: fast-break basketball. If the Bullets hope to build upon their modest two-game winning streak, however, they will revert to the days of yesteryear and slow the ball down.
"We're not a high-scoring team," Bullets Coach Gene Shue said after Friday night's 102-94 victory over the New York Knicks. "We want to fast break the basketball, but we're still not a good fast-break team, like Los Angeles. We want to be productive with the fast break, and that doesn't mean just running and throwing up any kind of shot."
But Chicago (6-9) likes to run and, although Michael Jordan is out, new Coach Stan Albeck has three of his players from the run-and-gun San Antonio team of four years ago -- George Gervin (who scored 32 points in last night's 135-108 victory over Golden State), Gene Banks and Dave Corzine, although the latter could miss the game because of back problems.
The Bulls also have running potential in Quintin Dailey, Orlando Woolridge and John Paxson.
"So if you can't run," Shue said, "then you have to be able to execute in your set offense -- getting people to the right places at the right times."
Friday, the right place for the Bullets was under the basket for rebounds. Washington, which displayed a balanced scoring attack, outrebounded the Knicks, 52-42, and had 24 offensive rebounds.
Jeff Ruland scored 23 points with 15 rebounds, Cliff Robinson and Gus Williams each had 22 points, and Dan Roundfield had 15 points and 16 rebounds.
But getting to the right place at the right time was never more important than on defense in the final minutes of the game. With 3:08 remaining, the Washington defense took over, holding New York without a field goal for 2:17 and coming up with two steals and two blocked shots by Charles Jones. By the time the Knicks finally scored from the field with 51 seconds left, the game was no longer in doubt.