"The Big E has been a gem," says Shue. "I mean a G-E-M. Without him we'd be nowhere. He has worked very hard and he has made the big effort to team up with Wes. I couldn't be more pleased." '
"I'm sure a lot of people around the NBA laughed when they heard I was traded," says Hayes. "They said I'd ruin this team. But a lot of them don't even know' me. They didn't realize I'd always been a winner except with the Rockets. Still, they blamed me every time the team lost and called me a confirmed loser. I know I'm a guy who needs his confidence built up, but from the very first day I came into the pros, coaches emphasized the things I can't do, even in the years I led the league in scoring or rebounding. And I was an easy target. I was taking most of the shots because I was told to and I was the highest-paid player. I was expected to make a winner out of a team which didn't have the ability.
"It almost ruined my game and my health. I got to the point where I couldn't sleep, and my stomach was always acting up. They took X rays and couldn't find anything wrong. I had become a hypochondriac. I took sleeping pills and was constantly chewing Turns and Rolaids. I haven't taken any of those pills since I heard about the trade."
Now it is Baltimore's opponents who are feeling a little queasy. By the end of last week the Bullets had run off a seven-game winning streak, including a team-record five straight on a single road trip. The best of the away wins came early last week in Los Angeles where the Lakers fell 112-104. The Bullets played a tightly controlled game most of the time, none of them more so than Hayes, who selected his shots carefully, hitting 13 of 21 and scoring 32 points. Clark made his season's debut as a substitute and although he scored only seven points, his defense was sharp, particularly on Gail Goodrich in the fourth quarter when Los Angeles threatened.
Three nights later, against the hapless 76ers, the Bullets breezed to a 24-point lead in the third quarter. Philadelphia closed the margin to eight before Clark herked and jerked for eight points in the final period—he had 16 for the game—and fed teammates for two more baskets, the Bullets winning 110-94. Saturday-night against Seattle Clark scored 10 of his 18 points—as well as five rebounds and three assists—in the fourth period as Baltimore built a 99-95 lead into a 126-106 victory.
Earlier in the week Shue was asked when he expected Clark to become a regular, an unavoidable move the coach seems reluctant to make, since Chenier and Porter are playing so well. "I've got 300 guards," Shue said, "so please don't ask me when Archie's going to start." With problems like this, Shue doesn't need Turns, either.