BALTIMORE, FEB. 17 -- The Washington Bullets attracted 10,024 for today's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, reducing the average for three Baltimore visits to 10,299.
That is down considerably from last year's average of 11,529 for four games here and reflects a seasonlong dropoff mostly attributed to the economy.
In 23 home games, the Bullets have averaged 11,500, ranking 24th in the 27-team NBA and 776 below the 12,276 average through 23 home dates last season.
It is noteworthy that the Bullets have sold out Capital Centre six times this season, compared with only three at this stage last winter.
"People plan ahead, pick out a game and that's it," said Susan O'Malley, the club's executive vice president. "They're not making last-minute decisions. In the past we'd get as many as 2,000 tickets sold at the door. Now we're not getting 200."
O'Malley said the season-ticket sale was up slightly, but that there had been defections.
"We had companies that had been with us a long time drop season tickets, some after giving us a deposit," she said. "One executive told me, 'I've just laid off a thousand people. I can't come out and sit in a VIP seat.' "
Rollicking With 'Rock'
John "Rock" Williams played the fourth game of his comeback for the Bullets today and was involved in some interesting situations while collecting two points, four assists and five rebounds in 21 minutes.
Williams, wearing a huge brace on his right knee, exhibited a behind-the-back dribble that engulfed the Bullets' bench in laughter. He was charged with playing an illegal defense, apparently because he wasn't guarding anyone. But he stole a pass and led a fast break that resulted in an A.J. English basket and Coach Wes Unseld was not unhappy with his play.
"He's made some passes since he's been back that we haven't had anybody make all year," Unseld said. "John's principal fault in the past was that he was too unselfish and he's still passing off a lot, giving guys easy shots. I'm just pleased to have him back."
Williams said, "Right now I think I'm at about 50 percent."
Ferry Has 'Bell Rung'
Cleveland's Danny Ferry crashed to the floor with 6:45 left in the game and, after being treated by trainer Gary Briggs, did not return.
"I got my bell rung," Ferry said. "I never saw anything and I can't really say what happened. I got hit in the mouth first, then I hit the back of my head either on the floor or on somebody's leg. I'm just a little dazed. I'll be fine."
The former DeMatha and Duke star scored eight points in 17 minutes of reserve duty.