Then on successive Spur offensive forays, Billy Paultz was called for pushing on a rebound, and next—the most arguable call of the bunch—Paultz again was whistled as he made a simple hand-off to a teammate. The Bullets' Henderson bounced off him, fell to the floor and came up clapping.
"I've been in the league long enough to know not to set an illegal pick in the clutch," Paultz was to say bitterly. " Henderson did a flop, that's all."
When the dust had settled, the Bullets had tied the game at 103. Still another favorable Bullet foul call (against Gervin on a double-team after which the ubiquitous Ballard swished two free throws, for 105-103 at 36 seconds) and Silas' 14-foot jumper in the lane tied the contest. That furnished a suitable prologue for one more Motta time-out, one more Dandridge rider—three Spurs ran at Bobby D on the baseline but all fell back instead of jumping with him—and one more blocked shot by Hayes.
"Maybe—like Bill Russell said of himself—this whole team is afraid to lose," said Hayes afterward. "Let the Spurs talk about fouls. They went to protect the lead, but we was right back on 'em. We keep pulling these little magical things. Atlanta. Now San Antonio. But three strikes and we're out, you know."
We know. E knows. But do the Seattle SuperSonics know?