Workman-like effort is making Bullet sub a star

November 28, 1990|By Milton KentMilton Kent | Milton KentMilton Kent,Evening Sun Staff

LANDOVER -- The Hollywood scriptwriter would have set up the situation so that Bernard King or Ledell Eackles would have been the hero for the Washington Bullets last night.

After all, King had just signed a contract extension and Eackles was making his first appearance of the season after a contract holdout.

And both King (39 points, seven rebounds) and Eackles (13 points in 15 minutes) did their part.

But darn if the unknown understudy, namely Haywoode Workman, didn't steal the show, leading the Bullets to a 115-113 win over Golden State.

For the second straight night, Workman, who labored in the situation comedy known as the Continental Basketball Association last season, nailed shots that clinched the victory for the Bullets (4-8).

Workman's two free throws with 7.5 seconds left gave him a career-high 15 points and the Bullets their margin of victory as well as their first two-game win streak of the year.

The 24-year-old guard from Oral Roberts seemed almost embarrassed about all the attention he had attracted, but happy nonetheless.

"I'm just happy to be here," said Workman. "I just want to do the best I can."

And so he is. Saturday night, against Indiana, the 6-3 Workman, who was drafted last season by Atlanta but was cut after seven games to find a spot with Topeka in the CBA, scored 14 points, pulled down five rebounds and dished out six assists.

His basket with 3.1 seconds left in overtime gave the Bullets the win and ensured that he would earn a third straight start.

Coach Wes Unseld moved Workman into the starting lineup last weekend in Detroit and his pairing with Darrell Walker has paid sound dividends.

"That gives us much more speed in the backcourt," said Unseld. "He's making his shots. He gets after people on defense and that helps us."

"He's got his chance and he's making the most out of it," said Walker, who had 12 points and 12 assists. "He's just solid. He's handling the ball, which takes some responsibility from me."

Workman's play, especially down the stretch, took some of the attention away from the return of Eackles, who was seeing his first action since last season's finale against Indiana.

Eackles, who was activated just yesterday, looked ragged in his debut, scoring on his first two shots -- long jumpers from the left wing -- but looking remarkably lost on defense.

The effect of his holdout was visible, as he looked out of shape and gasping for air at the end of each of his stretches. His free throw attempts were short, the mark of a tired player.

"When he was fresh, he played well," said Unseld. "When he got tired, he started making mistakes."

Eackles said he felt relatively pleased with his performance and said he wasn't immediately concerned with his ability to get into shape or get a starting backcourt slot.

"For a minute, it was all right, but I have to get used to running behind smaller guards," said Eackles. "It won't take me long to get into shape."

But by the time that happens, Eackles may not be able to break up the Workman-Walker combo, not to mention wrestle time away from rookie A.J. English, who like Eackles, was a second-round draft choice.

For now, Workman is making it plain he doesn't intend to be the show that is canceled after one performance.

"I've always imagined playing in the NBA and playing like Magic [Johnson], just taking control of the game," said Workman.

Bullets preview


* WHEN: Tonight, 8:30.

* WHERE: Chicago Stadium.

* TV/RADIO: Ch. 20; WTOP-AM 1500.

* OUTLOOK: The Bullets (4-8) had a good night last night. They climbed out of last place in the Eastern Conference, they re-signed Bernard King, they got Ledell Eackles back in uniform and they won a hard-fought game with Golden State.

And their reward? They get to meet the Bulls (7-6) and the wondrous Michael Jordan on Chicago's home floor. But there may be good news here. The Bulls are only 1-2 at the Stadium this season, but they closed their West Coast swing with a 4-3 mark, the first time in 16 years they've had a winning record on that trip.

Jordan, who has won the last four league scoring titles, is only sixth so far, averaging 28.2 points. No other Bull is averaging as much as 15 and only Scottie Pippen (14.5) and Horace Grant (11.3) are in double figures. Neither Cliff Levingston nor Dennis Hopson, both acquired before the season, have been significant additions.

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