BOSTON, FEB. 3 -- The Washington Bullets got much more than a 119-101 loss to the Boston Celtics today. They received a major scare when Bernard King left the court in the third period, departed Boston Garden on a stretcher and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital.
Evidently, he had suffered an allergic reaction.
After about an hour and a half at the hospital for observation, King was released and walked out under his own power with trainer John Lally. The two jumped into a cab to join the rest of the team for a late afternoon flight back to Washington.
Neither had any comment.
Bullets public relations director Rick Moreland said in a statement that King "did have some shortness of breath, he experienced dizziness and an erratic heartbeat. That's why he was taken to the hospital. Presently, he is coherent. He is talking. Everything appears to be fine."
King left the game with 7:40 left in the third quarter, after going back onto the court following a Washington timeout. He called for a 20-second timeout himself and went back to the bench. He took some antacid medication. A couple of minutes later he went to the locker room with Lally.
"We're out there playing," guard A.J. English said, "and I thought we just needed a 20-second timeout to get things straight. You turn around, and Bernard's gone."
King was examined by Celtics team physician Arnold Scheller before he left the Garden. As a precaution, he was given oxygen and taken out on a stretcher.
"They think he had some kind of an allergic reaction," Bullets Coach Wes Unseld said. "They judged him to be hyperventilating. . . . It was just during that minute where he had trouble breathing and asked the trainer for one of those ammonia capsules and then tried to go back on the court and felt he couldn't do it. Whatever judgments they've made, I've not been apprised of it."
Moreland spoke with King after his release from the hospital, and said King left the impression he was going to the team's next practice.
The scare overshadowed a game in which the Bullets, wracked by injuries, had six healthy bodies by game's end.
They had only the league minimum of eight players suited up, and Charles Jones was in uniform knowing he wouldn't play on his pulled left hamstring. Pervis Ellison played 30 minutes despite back spasms that had him wrapped afterward in ice from his shoulder blades to his hips.
Then, King went out.
"Somebody's put a curse on us," Ellison said.
With Darrell Walker (strained right knee), Mark Alarie (laceration under the right eye) and Ledell Eackles (flu) not even on the trip, the Bullets' loss could have been worse.
They had no one who could handle Reggie Lewis, who scored a game-high 30 points. The Celtics beat Washington on the backboards with a 56-34 advantage, led by Robert Parish's 12 rebounds. The Bullets shot a drab .389 from the field, but made 31 of 32 from the foul line, by far their best tally this season. That kept them in the game for three quarters.
In fact, they were in it early in the fourth, trailing by nine. But Boston, still without injured Larry Bird, went on a 17-2 run then, getting six points from Kevin Gamble and four of Kevin McHale's 22. That made it 111-87 with 6:18 to play.
English had already played 39 minutes, and would go six more. Harvey Grant (20 points) played 41 minutes. Byron Irvin went 39 minutes. Greg Foster played 34 minutes off the bench.
"I thought, 'You just suck it up and keep on playing,' " said Irvin, who has played 83 minutes in two games after playing 96 the first 44. " . . . We had an opportunity to win, but a couple of bad shots, a couple of three-point plays by them and it was up to 20."
The minutes showed "with my shooting," said English, six of 22. "Everyone was shooting sporadically. But you've got to be ready. That's what Coach has been preaching all along."
Unseld said it was a near-certainty the Bullets will sign some CBA players to 10-day contracts until they get their regulars back.
"No one's going to feel sorry for us," Grant said. "If anything, they're going to try to bury us. If we take that attitude we're going to get beat by 60 or 70."