LANDOVER -- The Washington Bullets ended a five-game losing streak and Bernard King ended a personal one-game scoring slump with a 34-point performance in a 107-105 overtime victory over the Indiana Pacers last night.
But it took a driving layup by free-agent guard Haywoode Workman with three seconds left to finally clinch it for the Bullets before a Capital Centre crowd of 7,983.
Bullets fans could not breathe easily until Reggie Miller's three-point attempt bounced off the backboard as the buzzer sounded.
This looked like the familiar script of another last-minute disaster for the Bullets, who were forced into overtime by George McCloud's three-point shot with eight seconds left in regulation.
Washington blew two more leads in overtime before Workman broke loose for his game-winning hoop.
Something had to give last night. The Pacers had lost their previous four road games and the Bullets had dropped five straight, including their last three at home.
Bullets coach Wes Unseld tried to shake things up, teaming point guards Darrell Walker and Workman in the starting backcourt.
Rookie shooting guard Larry Robinson, who has been struggling offensively, was forced to the bench.
The new guard combination proved effective in the early minutes as the Bullets consistently beat the Pacers down the floor for layups and high-percentage shots.
King, who had a season-low 11 points against the Detroit Pistons, dropping him from the National Basketball Association scoring lead, notched five points in two minutes to trigger a 13-4 advantage. Workman chipped in with four points.
Indiana regrouped behind Rik Smits and Chuck Person, slicing the deficit to 15-11. The Bullets tightened their defense and King and Darrell Walker upped the lead to 23-13 with strong moves to the hoop.
Person began posting down low and scored three hoops to cut the margin to 27-22. At this point, Person had 12 points and King 11.
The Bullets, shooting 55 percent, finished the first period ahead, 29-24.
Indiana used the jump shooting of Miller and Mike Sanders and the offensive rebounding of Smits to forge a 34-34 tie.
Washington then forced the ball inside to forward Tom Hammonds, who scored four straight points. A tip-in by Pervis Ellison gave the home team a 40-36 edge.
After another tie at 40, Ellison blocked two straight shots, then produced a three-point play to push the Bullets back on top, 45-40.
The Bullets used good ball movement and a trapping defense to put together a 17-4 run for a 57-44 spread. King and Harvey Grant each scored four points.
The first half ended with Washington leading, 63-52. King led the scoring with 20 points. Person topped the Pacers with 16.
The Bullets had a chance to widen their lead early in the second half, but King and Grant each missed a pair of free throws.
A 9-0 run by the Pacers closed the gap to 67-63 as Washington picked up several fouls and Grant and Walker were forced to the bench with four personals.
The Bullets continued to struggle offensively but used the foul line to increase their lead to 72-65. A pair of free throws by Miller and Person's three-pointer made it 72-70.
Baskets by Byron Irvin and King made it 78-72, but Indiana pulled even at 78 after three quarters with a 6-0 spurt capped by Miller's breakaway layup.
The Bullets scored only 13 points in the quarter, shooting 30 percent from the field and three of nine from the foul line. Miller scored 11 points in the period for the Pacers.
Indiana moved ahead in the opening minute of the fourth quarter on a baseline jumper by rookie forward Kenny Williams.
Washington reclaimed the lead on a jumper by A.J. English, who barely beat the 24-second clock. Hammonds' driving shot provided an 83-80 edge.