If there's anything worthwhile about the seemingly endless NBA season, it's an abundance of second chances -- opportunities to atone for missed shots, sloppy play and other foibles.
Fortunately for the Washington Bullets, there also are third chances. One night after being blown out by 30 points by the Los Angeles Lakers, the Bullets rebounded, but not far enough. They fell by 19 points, 106-87, to the Sacramento Kings before a noisy sellout crowd of 10,333 at the Arco Arena.
In 17 home games, the building has been sold out 17 times. On this night, the place was rocking as the Kings rolled over Washington.
Much of the beat was provided by the Kings' Reggie Theus, who scored 17 points and tied his career high with 16 assists. Many of them went to Mike Woodson, who scored 21 points. The Bullets were led by Gus Williams' 22 points.
"Our offense is the direct result of having no offensive players," said Gene Shue of his team, which shot only 36 percent in the game. "If you add up the scores, getting 87 points tonight, 88 last night . . . You aren't going to win many games that way."
"I've lost back-to-back games before, but I don't think by margins this steep," said Cliff Robinson. "I thought we played with great intensity, but they shot so well, there wasn't much coming off the glass."
"Once the crowd gets to screaming like that, it's hard for the other team to concentrate," said the Kings' Terry Tyler. "They have to think too much on offense and then twice as much on the other end of the floor."
Neither team was able to lead by more than six points during the opening period, which ended with the Bullets on top, 28-24. There were a number of fine plays in the quarter, some of them inadvertent, such as the long lob pass that Robinson threw for Manute Bol that went straight into the basket instead.
Bol would get his chance later in the period, scoring on a short jumper after a feed by Dudley Bradley. At the other end, the fans also found out why the rookie center is second in the league in blocked shots, as Bol rejected an attempt by the Kings' Woodson almost as an afterthought, knocking the ball away from behind.
Robinson and Jeff Malone led Washington with eight points each in the quarter and five Kings' players scored four points each.
The Kings started strongly in the second period, building a 34-30 advantage mainly with some strong work on the offensive boards. Four of the team's points were the direct result of second shots after missed free throws.
The Bullets, meanwhile, were struggling in the early going. Besides their inability to control the backboards, they had problems scoring. In the first 4:15 of the quarter, the team registered just two points, coming on a Robinson jumper.
When Robinson scored again at the 6:26 mark it brought Washington within three, with the Kings leading, 35-32. The forward then made a deft pass to Bradley for an easy layup a short time later, cutting the deficit to one and forcing Sacramento to spend a timeout.
After the break, the Kings scored the next seven points, extending their lead to 42-34 before Malone quelled the run with two free throws at the 4:14 mark. That was countered by a LaSalle Thompson basket after another offensive rebound, but then the Bullets came back with three straight points to make the score 44-39, Sacramento, with 3:29 remaining in the half.
But the Bullets' scoring problems persisted. Missing a number of field goal attempts, they fell behind by 10, 49-39. By the intermission, however, Washington had worked its deficit down to five, 53-48. The Kings' last point came when Theus converted one of two free throws after being fouled just a second before time had expired.
Theus led the Kings with 11 points in the half, three fewer than Robinson, who was the high scorer. Although the Bullets held the Kings to a 38 percent mark from the field, they were outrebounded, 32-22, with 13 of the Kings' rebounds coming on the offensive end.
The Kings opened the second half by outscoring Washington, 6-2, in the initial 1:15. Thompson scored four of the points and Tyler added another basket after a steal by Theus. The lone Washington points were scored on Williams' jumper.
Theus and Tyler remained the catalysts for Sacramento in the early going. After five minutes of the period, the Kings led, 67-56, with the pair combining for eight points and four assists.
As in the first half, though, the Bullets were able to make a comeback. This one was spurred at the offensive end by an unlikely source, Charles Jones. The forward scored eight of Washington's 12 points in one stretch. That and the team's half-court trap enabled it to move to within three, 67-64, with 4:19 to play in the quarter.
The team's run of eight straight points forced Sacramento to spend a timeout. Once again the brief respite benefited the Kings, as they scored nine of the next 11 points to go in front, 76-66, with 1:20 remaining.
The period ended with the Kings on top, 76-68. Tyler led Sacramento with six points, and Jones had 10 for Washington. 76ers 108, Spurs 102:
Maurice Cheeks scored 23 points and Moses Malone 20 as Philadelphia won in San Antonio. Malone had 13 rebounds and Cheeks 13 assists to help Philadelphia win.
Forward Mike Mitchell led San Antonio with 27 points. Suns 114, SuperSonics 97:
Larry Nance scored 27 points and James Edwards 25 to lead Phoenix in Seattle in the completion of a game that had been suspended Sunday night because of a leaky roof.NBA Commissioner David Stern ruled that the game would be picked up from the spot it had been suspended. Phoenix held a 35-24 lead at that point.
When play resumed, the Sonics fought back in the second quarter to tie the game at 49, but went at the half trailing, 55-50.
Nance scored 13 points in the second half and Edwards 17 as the Suns pulled away.