It may not have been a new look for the Bullets Wednesday night at Capital Centre, but with guard Ledell Eackles in the game down the stretch and center Pervis Ellison giving one of his strongest performances, Washington scored the final 12 points and defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 104-99.
Washington will try to continue its momentum when it hosts Indiana tonight at 8 at Baltimore Arena. The Bullets, who have won six straight home games since Dec. 29, beat the Pacers last year in Baltimore. Washington has defeated Indiana in overtime in both meetings this season, and has beaten the Pacers in eight of its last 11 home meetings.
But despite the recent success Bullets Coach Wes Unseld said: "I don't think we've turned any corners. We've got a long way to go."
Unseld said, "I won't lock myself into anything as far as lineup changes." Although he was quick to praise Eackles, who finished with 17 points against Atlanta, Unseld said "the decision to keep Eackles in the game down the stretch was based solely on the way he was playing and what he was doing. He was doing well both offensively and defensively."
Eackles' fortune was rookie Haywoode Workman's misfortune. Although Workman scored 14 points against Atlanta, he watched the final minutes from the bench.
"I wanted to be in," said Workman. "Everybody wants to be in during crunch time. But Ledell was hitting his shots. And the team was going well at the time so the coach left Ledell in."
Workman is looking forward to playing Indiana, which has won two of its last three road games and defeated Philadelphia Wednesday night at The Spectrum, 110-109. It was Workman's basket with three seconds remaining that gave Washington its victory over the Pacers at Capital Centre earlier this season.
Workman also is aware of Indiana's intimidating physical style. In the teams' last meeting, Ellison got into a fight with the Pacers' Rik Smits and Indiana coach Dick Versace was fired the next day. And last year in Baltimore, a fight broke out between Bernard King and Indiana's Chuck Person.
"When we play Indiana, it's always physical," said Workman. "But we will not be pushed around by any team. And this game will be no different."