Imagine one of those late-night schlock horror shows on television. The vampire host screams at you, "You want to see something really scary?" For that you can have a copy of the Sacramento Kings' 87-82 victory over the Washington Bullets last night at Capital Centre.
Look at the turnovers -- 22 for Washington, 24 for Sacramento, which became the last team to win this season. Look at the shooting -- .446 for the Kings (1-7), .449 for the Bullets (2-7). Terrifying! Look at the scoring -- a franchise-low nine points in the second quarter for Washington, 33 points from both teams in the fourth. Horrific! And the 11 missed free throws by the Bullets. Blood-curdling!
It was awful. It was another case of no one helping Bernard King, who had his biggest scoring game with Washington, 45 points. But even King was tainted by the action, as he missed seven of 16 free throws.
Some simple math tells the tale. King shot 18 of 30. The rest of the team was 17 of 48 (.354). That's 17 field goals in 48 minutes. And still, the Bullets were ahead by three with six minutes left. Then, they did their usual swoon, scoring four points the rest of the way.
"This is the type of game where you walk out on the court and you say, 'This is a winnable game,' " Bullets Coach Wes Unseld said. "We've got to get a little bit more from a few other people. They've got to step up."
Duane Causwell's three-point play with 38 seconds left gave the Kings their first win in Washington since Nov. 15, 1983. Of course, they were Causwell's only three points of the game.
"We just did not come out and play," said King, whose league-leading scoring average rose to 31.8. But he's said all along it means nothing. And he's been right. This was as hollow a 45 points as anyone can score.
Wayman Tisdale's 23 points and eight rebounds led the Kings, who scored 34 second-half points, shooting 10 for 30. Sacramento was ripe for the taking when it scored just 15 third-quarter points, blowing a 53-38 halftime lead that was established by an all-time bad 12 minutes by the Bullets.
"They were all worried about getting the gorilla off their backs," Coach Dick Motta said of his previously winless Kings. "I told them it was just a little monkey and not to worry about it."
Washington didn't make a field goal in the second until 6:03, and if King hadn't come off the bench to hit two jumpers, the Bullets may have threatened the league record of four points in a period.
"I guess I'm as much at fault as anybody," guard Darrell Walker (10 points, 13 rebounds) said. "We didn't come out to play and the next thing you know they're hitting everything. Then we have to play catchup."
The Bullets caught up with a half-court trap, which the Kings apparently never had seen, not surprising with four first-round picks. They committed seven turnovers in five minutes, and Washington scored 16 straight, tying the game at 68 after three.
Both teams lurched into the fourth quarter, with neither leading by more than two until the end. King gave Washington a 78-75 lead midway through, and the Bullets had a chance to salt things away. But they missed their next four shots from the floor and two of four from the line.
They still led 80-77 with 3:18 to play. But nobody scored for more than a minute, and Tisdale's three-point play at 1:38 tied it. A.J. English, foolishly dribbling between his legs, was picked clean by Rory Sparrow, and Antoine Carr's free throws with 1:13 left put the Kings ahead.
King tied it with a jumper, and Washington went back to the trap. Sacramento finally solved it, and Sparrow whipped a pass to Causwell under the basket. He scored over Charles Jones and was fouled. Rookie Travis Mays hit two free throws with 16 seconds left, and that was that.