The monotone of the public address announcer spoke volumes about tonight's game between the Washington Bullets and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Was it boring, saying the same names over and over after fast-break basket after fast-break basket? Or perhaps the smugness that must accompany watching the best team in the NBA on a regular basis?
Either way, the sound of his voice was as glum as the looks on the Bullets' faces throughout most of tonight's 118-88 loss to the Lakers at the Forum. With the victory, Los Angeles showed why its record is a league-best 27-5. Washington fell to 16-17 and had a four-game winning streak on the road go by the wayside.
"The Lakers were just too good for us," said Washington Coach Gene Shue. "We were hoping to control the pace of the game, and for a short time we did. Then we made so many careless mistakes . . . it became vintage Lakers. They were turning our turnovers into easy layups."
James Worthy had 18 points in what was -- as was the case for most of the Lakers starters -- a brief performance. Many of the points came at the end of the team's almost incendiary fast break. A.C. Green of the Lakers led all scorers with 20. Teammate Magic Johnson had 18 points and 17 assists. The Bullets were led by Tom McMillen's 18 points.
Washington led, 2-0, on Cliff Robinson's jumper, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson quickly scored for Los Angeles, causing Shue to call time. Whatever he told the Bullets helped, because they scored seven of the next nine points.
Their execution on offense kept the game close for a time, but the Lakers' fast break began to take its toll in the final five minutes of the period. Worthy and Johnson were particularly effective, and when the quarter ended they had put their team ahead, 38-27.
"We wanted to make sure they didn't get a chance (to win)," said the Lakers' Byron Scott. "We kept running continuously. You know that you're going to get two or three spurts in a game. We had that in the first quarter."
Both teams began the second quarter with several substitutes. McMillen was the most effective, scoring four quick points to help bring the Bullets within 42-33. Manute Bol, who started at center for the Bullets, despite having had flu, blocked two shots early in the period.
Later, he rejected two more, one of which McMillen turned into a score to leave Los Angeles with a 44-36 lead. Less than a minute later, McMillen made it 44-38. But rookie forward Green countered with two baskets that put the Lakers ahead by 48-38 with 5:26 left in the first half.
But when the Lakers got ahead by 56-46 with 2:42 to play, they showed how powerful they can be. Capitalizing on steals, they moved smoothly into the transition game, and by halftime it was 67-49.
Said Robinson: "It's not as if that's an unfamiliar sight. The team is just a powerhouse."
One of the more impressive things about the run was the players heading it: Green and Michael Cooper. Green scored 10 in the period, Cooper nine. The Lakers had shot 58 percent.
The Bullets had 16 offensive rebounds in the half. Such numbers usually mean a lot of points, but the Bullets' 13 turnovers enabled the Lakers to score 20 points.
The Lakers needed no help anyway. In the opening minutes of the third quarter, they scored 12 straight points and it was 81-54.
This time it was Scott who had six points in the run. Worthy had four and Abdul-Jabbar two as it became increasingly obvious that the home team was capable of choosing any scorer it wished.
The final touch in the Bullets' dismal third quarter came when little-used substitute Mike McGee made a three-point field goal with two seconds left to make it 94-62.
Darren Daye and Jeff Malone each had four points in that period, but their Bullets teammates had only five among them.
"To get beat like that . . ." Malone said. "The things we talked about we just didn't do. A lot of times I was getting caught three on one. They're the best team in the league when they get running. It's the kind of team that everyone would love to play for." Trail Blazers 136, Warriors 120:
Guard Jim Paxson led a third-quarter comeback in Portland, Ore., that enabled the winners to change a nine-point deficit early in the third quarter to a 10-point lead when the period ended.
The Trail Blazers kept the pressure on through the fourth quarter, with substitute Clyde Drexler getting 17 of his 21 points that period.
Purvis Short of the Warriors had a game-high 36 points. Game postponed:
The roof on the Seattle Coliseum leaked so much water on the floor that officials halted a game between the SuperSonics and Phoenix Suns one minute into the second quarter with Phoenix leading, 35-24. The game might be replayed or resumed tonight. League officials said a game had never been stopped before.