Bernard King showed some of the offensive flash Monday night that made him an NBA scoring champion.
King scored 19 of his 38 points in the third quarter to guide the Washington Bullets to their first road victory of the season, a 97-92 decision over the New Jersey Nets."It's a good sign, especially on the road, even though New Jersey has been struggling," said King, who won the NBA scoring title in 1985. "It's good to get the win. It's going to take us a little time to gel, but every game has been close, and we have been in most of them right to the end."
"Bernard is the key to our offense," Washington Coach Wes Unseld said. "We are going to go to him until the well runs dry."
Harvey Grant scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Bullets, playing in the only NBA game of the night. Mark Alarie chipped in 11 points and guard Darrell Walker had 8 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for Washington.
New Jersey point guard Mookie Blaylock led the Nets with l9 points and Derrick Coleman added 16 points and 12 rebounds. Chris Morris had 15 points and 11 rebounds for New Jersey.
King converted 8 of 10 field goals and 3 of 4 free throws as his 19 points equaled the Nets' output for the third period. The Bullets led 81-72 entering the final period.
With 2:33 left in the game, King hit a running jumper which gave Washington a 92-83 lead. With 1:48 remaining New Jersey's Sam Bowie hit a free throw to pull the Nets within 92-88 and Coleman sank 2 more free throws at 1:05 cut the New Jersey deficit to 2 points.
But Grant tipped in a King miss with 36 seconds left for a 4-point Washington lead. Charles Jones hit a free throw and King made 2 more in the final seconds to complete Washington's scoring. Derrick Gervin sank a layup for New Jersey at the buzzer for the final margin.
"Bernard King is in his prime like when he was with the Knicks (from 1982-1987)," the Nets' Chris Morris said. "It's hard to try and stop him. I tried my hardest, but he is a scoring machine."
Coleman scored 8 points and had 6 rebounds to pace the Nets to a 29-24 lead after one quarter. Grant had 9 points for the Bullets. Washington forced a 53-53 tie at the half as Alarie scored 9 in the second period.
The Nets' Reggie Theus pulled a hamstring and left the game in the second period. He is listed as day-to-day.
"I was mad and disappointed by the second half," New Jersey Coach Bill Fitch said. "We had a chance to win, but didn't play smart and didn't get it done inside."