Dumas dazzles fans and dazes Bullets Rookie's 26 points lift Suns, 122-115

January 23, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Until this week, Washington Bullets coach Wes Unseld had no idea who Richard Dumas was, and that's understandable because the Phoenix Suns rookie plays on a team with Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle as starters and Danny Ainge and Tom Chambers coming off the bench.

Unseld knows who Dumas is now.

With Phoenix holding a 92-90 lead going into the fourth quarter, it was Richard Dumas who stepped up at crunch time, as the forward scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the final 12 minutes to help Phoenix to a 122-115 victory.

Yes, the Bullets' ninth sellout crowd did come to see Barkley, who -- on his best behavior after a one-game suspension -- scored 21 points while hitting nine of 11 shots.

But from the fans leaving the arena to the players in the locker room,everyone was talking about Dumas, who had been in a drug rehabilitation clinic and then the Continental Basketball Association before joining the Suns on Dec. 16.

"I saw him on tape, but other than that I had never heard of the guy," Unseld said. "We did a good job on him until we had to rotate our people. . . . But wow, he's good! He's got a lot of athletic ability."

Athletic ability is definitely not lacking for Phoenix (26-8), which ended a two-game losing streak.

Like Barkley, Dumas made nine of 11 shots in helping the Suns shoot 57 percent. A 1991 graduate of Oklahoma State, Dumas, a starter in the Suns' past eight games, is averaging 14.3 points.

"Dumas was great, considering we just got him out of prison," Barkley said, jokingly. "Seriously, he's too young to compare to anyone. But in time, he will be very good."

Phoenix coach Paul Westphal said: "He is among the most talented small forwards in the league already.

I don't know very many guys that have his quickness and jumping ability and, on top of that, he knows how to play basketball."

The Dumas-led effort spoiled a solid effort for the Bullets (11-26), who lost their fourth straight. Washington shot a season-high 58.8 percent, with Pervis Ellison's 27 points and Harvey Grant's 25 leading four players in double figures.

With Grant playing his first game at shooting guard and scoring 15 first-half points, and Larry Stewart making seven of his nine second-quarter shots, Washington trailed 59-57 at the half.

The Bullets took a 81-76 lead in the third quarter after a layup by Grant, but a 16-9 Suns run at the end of the quarter gave them a 92-90 edge entering the final 12 minutes.

That's when Dumas took over, scoring the Suns' first 12 points -- the final two on a jumper -- to give Phoenix a 104-97 lead. With no answer defensively for Dumas -- and Barkley heating up in the quarter -- the Bullets couldn't touch the Suns the rest of the game.

"They've got players on the bench who are tough, and they really turned it up in the second half," Grant said.

"[Dumas] is a great athlete. I've known about him, and I wouldn't say he's snuck up on people, because he can play. He jumps well, and he has a lot of potential."

Drafted by Phoenix in the second round of the 1991 draft, Dumas was suspended for the entire 1991-92 season after failing a random drug test. He played with the Suns in six preseason games that season, averaging 7.3 points in 13.7 minutes.

After a summer playing for John Lucas and the Miami Tropics in the U.S. Basketball League, and after completing a drug treatment program earlier this season, Dumas played for Oklahoma City of the CBA and averaged 28.4 points.

Now he is emerging as a force.

"I felt good tonight," Dumas said. "I'm starting to get used to the NBA, and I'm just happy to finally be here."

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