No matter how badly things have gone for the Washington Bullets, it's doubtful their woes compare to the mishaps of the Los Angeles Clippers, who lost their 10th consecutive game, 108-76, last night at Capital Centre.
In improving their record to 10-20, the Bullets got 22 points from Bernard King, 15 from Jeff Malone and 14 points and 16 rebounds from Moses Malone. The trio saw rather limited action, mainly because of what has become routine for the Clippers -- a pathetic effort. The Clippers had only 40 points at halftime, 59 after three quarters and barely managed (by two points) to avoid setting a record for the fewest points scored against the Bullets in a game.
Guard Larry Drew (four of seven) was the only Clipper to make half his field goal attempts. The team shot just 33 percent. That made it easy for every Washington player -- with the exception of Charles Jones -- to score in the game. It also made for a lousy homecoming for the Clippers' contingent of local products.
Former Georgetown and Baltimore Dunbar High star Reggie Williams, returning for his first game at Capital Centre as a professional, scored four points in 12 minutes. Guard Quintin Dailey, who attended Cardinal Gibbons High in Baltimore, scored 13 points. Guard Mike Woodson led the Clippers (8-22) with 15 points.
That wasn't enough to placate Coach Gene Shue, who seemed to spend most of the game calling timeouts in an effort to try and stop what became Washington's largest margin of victory this season.
"There was nothing I can say was positive from this performance tonight," said Shue, who coached the Bullets until being fired in March 1986. "We were terrible. . . . We're a weak and inconsistent team, we have lots of limitations and we have to play well to be respectable. It wasn't really the Bullets tonight, but how bad we were."
The Bullets, who have lost 10 games this season by 15 or more points, have had a few of those nights themselves in what has been a up and down year. Following a hard-fought 125-109 loss in Boston Friday night, Washington Coach Wes Unseld wasn't certain what kind of effort he would receive from his players last night.
"That was my biggest concern," he said. "But we had some individuals who came out and were really ready to play; I thought some individuals weren't as ready but we played hard."
Tied at 26 after the first quarter, the Bullets opened the second period by scoring the first 14 points. Leading, 53-40, at halftime, they sealed the victory by scoring the first seven points of the third quarter on the way to a 13-3 spurt. From there, Washington never allowed the visitors to get closer than 18 points.
Terry Catledge was the only Washington starter to play in the final period and he was replaced by Jones with more than eight minutes to play.
From that point, the only questions remaining were if Jones would get on the scoreboard and how many points and blocked shots Manute Bol would end up with. The answer to the first was no; to the second the answer was six points and five rejections.
"They say there are no easy nights in the NBA and they're right about that except for every once in a while," said King. "I'd forgotten what it was like to rest and not have to play in the fourth quarter. It was a great win because everyone had a chance to share in it."
Frank Johnson's two free throws gave the Bullets a 28-26 lead to start a 10-point spurt that put them ahead, 36-26, with 8:28 remaining in the first half. They led by 12 (40-28) before the Clippers closed in again.
At halftime, the Bullets led, 53-40.
Washington started the second half by scoring the first seven points to take a 60-40 lead.
It wasn't until 9:35 remained in the quarter that the Clippers got their first basket of the half when Woodson scored on a jumper.
The Clippers did manage to make a small move midway through the quarter, scoring five straight points to close to 66-48.