MUSKEGON, MICH., OCT. 17 -- The Washington Bullets opened their 1987 NBA exhibition schedule with a 108-103 loss to the Detroit Pistons tonight at L.C. Walker Arena.
The Bullets took a 93-92 lead on two free throws by former Piston Tony Campbell with 5:55 to play, but Bill Laimbeer hit a jump shot and guard Joe Dumars a free throw to put Detroit ahead, 95-93. Washington twice came within a point but the Pistons kept them at bay.
Washington center Moses Malone led all scorers with 23 points. Dumars' 18 led Detroit. First-round draft choice Tyrone Bogues had a team-high six assists in 26 minutes for the Bullets.
"Overall, for our first game, I thought it was okay," said Bullets Coach Kevin Loughery. "It wasn't too bad but, like last year, rebounding killed us." According to the official statistics, Detroit and Washington had 39 rebounds each, both with 14 on the offensive boards. However, Loughery said he and assistant Wes Unseld counted 13 of the latter for Detroit in the first half alone.
Bogues made his first appearance with 25 seconds remaining in the first quarter, replacing starting point guard Ennis Whatley. He scored his first points with 5:42 left in the second quarter. After snuffing a shot by Detroit's Isiah Thomas from behind, the 5-foot-3 guard dribbled the length of the court, only to meet burly Rick Mahorn. Bogues pulled up just inside the free throw line and made a rainbow jumper.
After trailing, 59-50, at halftime, Washington came on to lead, 79-72, on the playmaking of Michael Adams and Moses Malone's scoring and was up after three quarters, 84-82.
Perhaps the most impressive of the Bullets in the first half was forward John Williams, who had nine points. Reserve center Manute Bol blocked five shots in the second quarter.