The Washington Bullets played pretty well offensively last night at Capital Centre. But the Charlotte Hornets were right there with eight minutes left, until bogging down offensively and allowing the Bullets to take a 118-108 victory before 6,911.

Washington (12-17) got another big dose of Bernard King, to the tune of 46 points and six rebounds. Harvey Grant tied his career scoring high with 27 points, while also grabbing six rebounds. Pervis Ellison was again a force off the bench with 11 points and another big rebounding effort with 12.

A.J. English added 11 points and six rebounds -- the Bullets beat Charlotte (9-20) on the boards, 50-35 -- and Darrell Walker chipped in eight rebounds and 14 assists, tying his season's high.

All that, and the Hornets still had a handful of chances to go ahead in the fourth quarter, after erasing a 16-point deficit. But Charlotte missed several easy shots, and Washington went on a 10-2 burst to take command.

"You know Charlotte's going to come out and play you hard," Bullets Coach Wes Unseld said. "I was hoping we had something to put them away. I thought we could have, but obviously we {didn't}. . . . We stopped running. When we ran we were very effective. When we didn't, we weren't."

And they got the ball to King in any manner of spots on the field. He was 17 of 24 from the floor, falling just four points short of back-to-back 50-point games.

"A few free throws {he was 12 of 15} and I could have had it," he said. I didn't know I was that close until I sat down on the bench {with 21 seconds left} and the guys let me know."

Rex Chapman led the Hornets with 22 points. Johnny Newman added 16 before fouling out. Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues had 15 points and 11 assists, but Armon Gilliam, who strafed the Bullets for 39 points and 12 rebounds the first time the teams met this season, was held to nine points and five rebounds.

Unlike Saturday night against the Nuggets, when the fourth quarter was virtually choreographed to get King his 50, every point was needed last night. Washington just couldn't shoo the Hornets away. But Charlotte cooperated by missing 13 of its last 16 shots after closing within 97-96 with 7 1/2 minutes to play.

"When they made that run it took a lot out of them," Grant said. "We took it upon ourselves to step up our defense another level. I think we did that. When they were throwing it into Armon we ran at him. We wanted Muggsy to beat us with the outside shot."

Said Ellison: "We were really conscious of him, so we were sending people at him, trying to make him give the ball up. He's a one-man wrecking crew down there so we really wanted to get the ball out of his hands as much as possible."

The Hornets had two chances to take the lead after getting within one. But Kelly Tripucka (13 points) missed a jumper and Kendall Gill blew a layin. At the other end, English scored in transition and Grant's jumper at the six-minute mark gave the Bullets some breathing room at 101-96.

Charlotte made just one field goal in the next five-plus minutes.

"The ball gets bogged down inside," Newman said, "and by the time it gets outside, it's a rushed shot. It's been the same way all year."

Meanwhile, the Bullets extended their lead to 107-98 with four minutes to play. The Hornets scored six in a row to get within 107-104 with 2:32 left, but Walker made one of two free throws, the Hornets missed three chances and King filled the lane for a basket at 1:50 and was fouled, making it 110-104.

He missed the free throw, but Haywoode Workman beat J.R. Reid to the rebound and was fouled. He made one of two foul shots, and King's two free throws with 47.6 seconds left iced it.

Said Grant, who has had two of his three best offensive performances this season against Charlotte: "I'm looking for my shots to help take some of the pressure off Bernard, because we can't expect him to score 40 points every time out. That's impossible."