The Indiana Pacers may not have any other NBA team's number this season, but they sure have Washington's.
The Pacers, winners of only 24 of 69 games, took their fourth straight victory from the Bullets this season, 105-100, in front of 11,426 in Market Square Arena tonight.
As in their past three games with the Pacers this season, the Bullets had trouble putting the ball in the basket. After averaging only 85 points per game against the Pacers, they scored 21 in the first quarter and 45 in the opening half, shot only 39 percent in the half and trailed by as many as 24.
"They took control early," said Washington Coach Gene Shue. "They played well to get the lead."
The Bullets could have rolled over and died, but they didn't. Sparked by former Pacer Kevin McKenna's four three-pointers in the second half, they rallied within 96-93 on Gus Williams' layup with 2:36 left.
Herb Williams, who had 27 points, missed a short jumper at the Pacers' end, but Steve Stipanovich slipped in for a tip-in to give Indiana a 98-93 lead. Jeff Malone and Dan Roundfield had chances to cut it to three but missed. Herb Williams was fouled and hit two free throws for a 100-93 lead with 1:46.
Malone hit a free throw, and after Stipanovich was called for an offensive foul, Roundfield scored on a drive to make it 100-96 with 38 seconds left. But Vern Fleming scored two of five Pacers free throws down the stretch to lock up the victory.
Malone led the Bullets with 29 points. Cliff Robinson had 20 before he was ejected with 2:17 left in the third quarter for arguing, obtaining his second technical foul.
Indiana dominated the first half. In the first quarter, Clint Richardson scored on a short jumper and a layup, and Wayman Tisdale hit a turnaround jumper and a dunk over Manute Bol to give the Pacers an 18-13 lead. Indiana outscored the Bullets by 15-8 the rest of the quarter for a 33-21 advantage.
The pace picked up in the second quarter, but the scoring didn't. Both teams pushed the ball up and down the court quickly, but neither scored until Ron Anderson hit a pair of free throws for the Pacers with 9:51 left.
Bill Martin scored the next six points as the Pacers took a 41-21 lead with 8:37 left in the half. Malone's jump shot with 8:20 left was the first time the Bullets had scored since Tom McMillen's basket with 25 seconds left in the first quarter.
Anderson and Herb Williams scored on feeds from Fleming to boost the lead to 47-23, Indiana's biggest of the game.