There were any number of weird happenings during last night's Washington Bullets-Atlanta Hawks game at Capital Centre: one player (Washington's Darrell Walker) was ejected for two first-half technicals -- the second while he was running around a screen to receive a pass. Later in the game, a referee tried to have a fan ejected from the building.

On the court, the weirdest happening -- or perhaps the saddest, depending on one's perspective -- might have been the Bullets' 12-point second quarter and 30-point first half, major contributors to a 102-94 loss.

The Bullets' record dropped to 4-10; the Hawks improved to 9-5, but not before coming close to contributing the biggest oddity of the evening: they nearly lost the game. Despite their poor (26 percent) first-half shooting and 13 turnovers, they led only 45-30 at halftime. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Bullets were within 73-63.

With just over 11 minutes remaining in the game, Washington was behind, 73-65. Jeff Malone (who totaled a game-high 28 points) drove down the right side and scored over Atlanta's John Battle, who appeared to bump Malone. Referee Ken Mauer blew his whistle, but instead of awarding Malone a free throw that could have made the score 73-68, he called Malone for an offensive foul.

Washington's Tyrone Bogues, who scored a career-high 16 points with seven assists in celebrating his return to action after not playing in Wednesday's loss to Indiana, scored the next basket, but the offensive foul would have further repercussions.

With 10:20 remaining, Battle made a jumper and was fouled, but Jeff Malone came back with a three-point field goal 23 seconds later. Almost immediately after the shot, Bullets' forward John Williams was whistled for a technical foul. Battle converted the shot but before the ball could be inbounded, Jeff Malone was called for a technical.

It was the fifth such foul called by Mauer in the game and Battle converted this one, too, to make the score 78-70. Enraged Washington Coach Kevin Loughery (who had been whistled for a technical in the first half) called time, which gave many in the crowd of 6,464 a chance to vent their frustrations at Mauer. That was when his partner, Darrell Garretson, the chief of staff for NBA officials, went after one particular fan.

Shortly after play resumed, Battle's three-point field goal made the score 81-70 with 9:31 left. The Bullets never got closer than five points after that.

"I wish I could say something about the officials but I can't," said Loughery. "It's too expensive. That we shot 26 percent in the first half and were still in the game is incredible. We got a chance, though; we got back in the game, and then . . . you know, some crazy things happened."

Those goings-on definitely overshadowed some fine efforts by Bogues and Jeff Malone and by Atlanta's Tree Rollins, Kevin Willis and Cliff Levingston. Rollins, a substitute, had 16 rebounds, and Willis led the Hawks with 23 points. Levingston, a forward starting because all-star Dominique Wilkins has a sprained right toe, had 21 points with 11 rebounds, six assists and six blocked shots in 43 minutes. The minutes played and blocked shots were both career highs.

"This was a good win to get," said Atlanta Coach Mike Fratello. "When someone is out like we had tonight, you have to have someone step forward and really play well."

Bogues might have filled that role for the Bullets had they been able to pull out the game. They did outscore the Hawks by 64-57 in the second half but that wasn't enough to overcome the first half, or what the Washington players perceived to be a lapse in officiating.

Garretson ejected the team mascot in the fourth quarter for mocking a technical call.

A team of 10 security officers escorted the referees from the court after the game.

Walker had left the building by game's end but Williams said he got his technical for telling Mauer "to just let us play. We were out there trying to come back, playing aggressive and he started calling ticky-tack fouls."

Jeff Malone said that, on the offensive foul called against him, Battle "was definitely moving over. I just wanted him {Mauer} to explain what I did. I said 'Come on, I'll talk to you after the game.' I was just trying to get some answers."

By the end of the game, the only answer that counted was the fact that the Bullets had lost their second consecutive game, which was too many for center Moses Malone, who had 19 points and 15 rebounds on the night.

"I'm disappointed we're 4-10," he said. "We have a better team than that. We talk a good game but it's a different situation out on the floor. Then, after it's over we just relax and go out to get a drink -- it can't be like that."