The 1991-92 NBA season has passed the first-quarter mark, but Washington Bullets coach Wes Unseld said he is just starting to make meaningful decisions concerning his team.
"Before this week," said Unseld, who was preparing for tonight's game in Dallas with the Mavericks, "I didn't have to worry a whole lot about substitutions and matchups. I was mostly just worried about having enough guys in uniform."
But since the start of this four-game road trip through Texas and concluding in Denver tomorrow night, Unseld finally has almost all the players who concluded training camp in October at his disposal.
After injuries to key players forced him to use more than a dozen different starting lineups, Unseld now can rely on a backcourt of Michael Adams and David Wingate, and a front line of Harvey Grant, Pervis Ellison and Larry Stewart, with Tom Hammonds, A.J. English and Charles Jones as his principal reserves.
With these eight playing the bulk of the minutes, the Bullets (7-17) pushed Houston to the limit before losing, 100-97, and rebounded Wednesday night to beat the San Antonio Spurs, 96-93.
"Now I finally get to make decisions about who can best defend this or that guard or forward, who will give me the best offense and a lot of other strategic things I couldn't do because we just didn't have the numbers," said Unseld.
As a case in point, Unseld used trapping defenses which forced San Antonio's makeshift point guards into a number of early turnovers.
Adams, who was challenging Michael Jordan for the NBA scoring lead before first injuring his hand, Dec. 16, regained his shooting touch against the Spurs, scoring 35 points, including six three-pointers.
Adams hitting from long range opened up the middle for drives by Wingate, Stewart and Grant, who was back in the starting lineup after missing three games last week with a sore back.
But Grant could be missing again tonight. Rod Thorn, the NBA's vice president of operations, was studying films of Grant's fourth-quarter fight with Spurs center David Robinson that led to both players being ejected.
In keeping with the league's hard-line policy toward fighting, it is expected both will be fined and suspended for at least one game. But as of last night, no decision had been reached.