Mark Alarie's mother showed up at Capital Centre Saturday night for the Washington Bullets game against the Chicago Bulls. So did Mark Alarie. For those of you without a scorecard, that's a big deal.

Rita Alarie lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. The three previous times she had seen her son's team play, her son didn't play. Also, three of the last four times his team played, he didn't.

All of that changed 4:49 into the second quarter of the 109-96 victory that was the Bullets fourth win in six games and, for the first time this season, second straight at home.

Guard Darrell Walker drove for a layup and landed awkwardly. Grimacing, he spun across the base line and limped into the seats. As he fell into an empty chair, grabbing at his right ankle, Coach Kevin Loughery unhesitatingly pointed at Alarie and then headed for Walker.

Alarie hurriedly tore off his warmups and . . . wait, the other four Bullets on the court were center Moses Malone, forwards Bernard King and John Williams and point guard Tyrone Bogues.

"He {Loughery} said take the two {off} guard," Alarie said. "I had never played guard in my life."

Well, practically never.

"The first time he mentioned it to me was in practice {Friday}," Alarie said. "I don't think it's going to be a permanent position for me by any means. But in different situations in the game -- like when Darrell went down -- and we need someone to fill in, it's possible."

At least. Alarie, whose playing time in the previous four games consisted of four minutes of garbage time, got in 19 minutes of off guard and small forward, with 10 points and four rebounds.

Those numbers weren't that important Saturday because Bernard King scored 28 points, Moses Malone had 20 and the Bullets, who shot 56.7 percent, made a season-high 37 assists.

In upcoming games, though, Alarie's contributions may mean much more. Walker, whose X-rays were negative Saturday, is scheduled for further examination today. Unless he makes a dramatic recovery or today's exam reveals more than a sprain, Walker, who has never played in fewer than 81 games during his four NBA seasons, probably will be out 10 days to two weeks. For Alarie, it may bring more action.

"Getting in the last few minutes of a blowout is a terrible way to get your playing time. {Saturday}, it was a different story. Coming in when the game was on the line, I was much more aggressive and self-confident."

But not totally self-confident. When Loughery wanted him to replace Bogues late in third quarter -- and go to the potentially intriguing lineup of 6-foot-9 Williams and 6-8 Alarie in the back court with Moses Malone, King and Terry Catledge up front -- Alarie balked.

"I was going over the plays in my mind when I was about to go in and I got, like, a mental block," he said. "We were on a roll and I didn't want to go in and mess things up, so I told Kevin I'd rather play the three {small forward}."

Alarie replaced Catledge. And Bogues, matched up against 6-7 Scottie Pippen, made three steals in the next 11 minutes as the Bullets made a nine-point game a blowout.

"I feel pretty comfortable with the team right now," Mark Alarie said as he pressed an ice bag to his knee. "My biggest problem is that I developed tendinitis in my right knee and I hadn't been able to practice that well, something you have to do when you're not playing. But, now, I'm feeling better."

So is Rita Alarie.