OAKLAND,CALIF. — OAKLAND, Calif. -- At age 34 and a day, Bernard King found enough energy to carry the Washington Bullets on his shoulders for another game.
King, who turned 34 Tuesday, scored 31 points, including 25 in the second half, to lead the Bullets (6-11) to a 104-98 victory over the Golden State Warriors last night. The victory ended a string of six straight road losses and completed a two-game season sweep of the Warriors in the space of eight days.
"We rely on him. We have no choice," Washington coach Wes Unseld said of his star. "If he doesn't score for us, we're not going to be even close. I wasn't worried [after the first quarter]."
But the scoring didn't come without King breaking through a physical defensive effort by the Warriors, who held him to two points and only one-of-nine shooting from the field in the first quarter. King scored 39 points against the Warriors Nov. 27, but those points came far more easily and mostly in the first half.
King received help in the form of a clutch jumper by Harvey Grant at the 58.4 mark, four free throws by rookie guard A.J. English in the final 11 seconds and a defensive effort by the Bullets that held Golden State (11-7) to only two free throws in the final 1 minute, 31 seconds, only 38.7 percent field-goal shooting for the game and only its second game under 100 this season.
A run of nine straight points by King gave the Bullets their first lead since the early moments of the game. A three-point play by King and then another jumper gave Washington a 79-77 lead with 10:10 remaining.
The Bullets never stretched their lead to more than four points until King hit a free throw with 2:31 remaining to make it 97-92.
Mitch Richmond made a pair of free throws at the 30.0 mark to close the score to 100-98, but English chipped in with his free throws to close out the scoring.
King, shaking off the Warriors' sticky defense in the first half, scored 13 points in the third quarter and 12 more in the fourth to rally the Bullets. After trailing, 48-42, at the half, Washington tied it twice late in the quarter and ended up trailing, 75-72.
Included in King's outburst was the first of two straight nine-point runs.
"When I shoot poorly, especially in the first half, I don't worry about it. I couldn't miss any more shots than I did in the first half. I come out and look at it as a whole new game," said King, who made 11 of 20 shots in the second half.
"The difference was I worked for my jumper more in the second half. My job is to shoot. I'm a scorer," he said.
* Opponent: Sacramento Kings
Site: ARCO Arena, Sacramento, Calif., 10:30 p.m.
Radio: WTOP (1500 AM)
Outlook: This is the third stop on the Bullets' five-game Western swing and their final meeting of the season with Sacramento. The Kings (2-13) lost their first seven games before beating the Bullets at the Capital Centre Nov. 20, 87-82, led by Wayman Tisdale's 23 points and 8 rebounds. They lost another six in a row before beating Dallas on Tuesday night, 103-83, for their first home victory. Antoine Carr came off the bench to score 31. Tisdale ranks 14th in the NBA in scoring (23.0 ppg). Former Bullets G Steve Colter was placed on the injured list after ankle surgery, and the Kings signed Leon Wood to fill his spot.