This wasn't supposed to happen to the New Edition Boston Celtics. If you want to run with them, you do so at your own peril. But the Washington Bullets never felt the heat and dashed past Boston, 116-99, last night in front of a sellout 18,756 at Capital Centre.

The Bullets (15-18) won their eighth in the last 11 games behind forward Bernard King's 37 points. Forward Harvey Grant scored 30 points, the second straight game he reached that plateau. Guard Darrell Walker was all-around outstanding with 22 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Center Charles Jones had 10 rebounds, and guard Haywoode Workman had 10 points and eight assists.

Washington's starters played 194 of a possible 240 minutes. King played 47 straight until coming out in the final minute. Grant played 43, and Walker was in for 41.

The Bullets still managed to run at almost every opportunity, with 29 fast-break points.

"We've been running," Walker said. "We need to do that. We were running so fast tonight I didn't know what was going on. We were out there. Not saying we were the Lakers, but we were out there."

The Celtics (29-6) had their six-game win streak stopped and lost for the first time since forward Larry Bird's back spasms flared up this week. Guard Reggie Lewis had 34 points and 12 rebounds; forward Kevin Gamble scored 23 before fouling out. But forward Kevin McHale was held to just 12 points, seven below his season's average.

They double- and triple-teamed McHale and center Robert Parish (six points), running King, Walker and Workman at them. But a double-team doesn't work unless the other players move to cover the open men, and the Bullets did a superb job of it last night.

"We were attempting to . . . double down on McHale and Parish immediately, and not wait, and rotate {the defense} to the man and try to force the ball away to the weak side of the court," said King. "You take a lot of time off the shot clock and you wind up with a long jump shot as opposed to letting them attack the inside."

The Bullets used a 24-2 run to lead by 12 points after one quarter, and scored eight points in the final 1:13 of the second quarter to lead 53-45 at halftime.

Boston got within 67-61 late in the third, but the Bullets started running again. Grant filled the lane for a fast-break dunk, and after free throws from point guard Dee Brown (14 points), the Bullets scored 10 of the next 12 points.

King, who had been held to 16.5 points in two games this season against Boston, scored six of them, and Grant's hustle down the floor was again rewarded with a fast-break basket to put Washington ahead 79-65 with a minute and a half left in the third quarter. The Bullets led 83-71 at the end of the period.

"We've had success running the ball on Boston in the past," said Grant, who is averaging 28 points his last five games on 54-percent shooting. "We were going to the boards pretty good and once I saw we had the rebound, I cheated out a little bit and got some easy baskets."

Boston resorted to the halfcourt traps that had had some first-half success. But the Bullets found the open players down the floor, and the closest the Celtics got in the fourth quarter was 10 with 5 1/2 minutes left.

The Bullets scored 12 of the next 18, with Jones beating tired defenders down the floor for weakside tip-ins.

"If we're not aggressive defensively," Celtics Coach Chris Ford said, "we suffer offensively. We have to generate our emotion off of the break. They packed it in. They took away our inside game. And that's not the fault of the guys with the ball. The other three or four guys weren't moving to the open spot. They think they're moving, but they're not."

The Bullets moved. And they got a good victory with a four-game-in-five-nights West Coast trip coming up.

Said King: "The Celtics have been playing outstanding basketball all year. They had been playing as good a defense as any team in the league in terms of how they've been holding teams to a low field goal percentage. This is a major, major win for this ballclub."