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Wizards respond to Jordan's outburst

1/4/2002

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- This was what Michael Jordan expected from
his teammates.

A night after saying his team "stinks," Jordan scored 30
points and Richard Hamilton added 28, leading the Washington
Wizards to a 94-87 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday
night.

Allen Iverson scored 40 points and Derrick Coleman added 15 for
the Sixers. The defending Eastern Conference champions have lost
two straight after winning seven in a row.

Washington won for just the second time in its last 10 games.

"I think they felt the need to come out and play hard," Jordan
said. "We found a way to play solid basketball and guys made
shots.

"It's important to come out this way every night. It doesn't
matter if it's Cleveland or Philadelphia. The effort should be
there every night. That's what was disappointing about Cleveland is
we didn't have this type of effort. This is something we have to
continue to build on."

Following Tuesday night's 94-75 loss at Cleveland, Jordan ripped
his teammates for their lack of urgency and lackluster play on
defense.

"I don't see anyone covering my back as everyone probably
expected me to cover theirs," Jordan said.

The Wizards couldn't stop Iverson, especially in the first half
when he scored 27 points. But they shut down the rest of the
Sixers, and Jordan scored Washington's last 14 points in the second
quarter as the Wizards trailed 50-47 at halftime.

A 9-0 run early in the third gave Washington its first lead
since the opening minutes. Hamilton had six points during the
spurt, including a 12-footer that made it 60-58.

"With him, you just try to absorb as much information as
possible," Hamilton said of Jordan.

The Sixers went more than four minutes without a point in the
fourth and the Wizards opened an 87-76 lead with 4:13 left, capped
by consecutive jumpers from Jordan and Hamilton. A free throw by
Jordan made it 88-76 with 2:58 left.

Philadelphia didn't get closer than five points the rest of the
game.

"We are playing like a bunch of strangers on both ends,"
Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "When we got behind, we acted like
we panicked."

Jordan came in shooting just 40.2 percent -- a career low. He
went 11-for-27 from the floor, 8-for-10 on free throws and had seven
assists and six rebounds.

"Some of those moves are unguardable," Harpring said of
Jordan. "I played him as hard as I could. I hope he's over there
tired. I sure am."

Iverson scored 17 points in the first quarter, including 12
straight at one point. All of the points except two free throws
came on jumpers, including three 3-pointers.

Iverson entered the game shooting just 32.1 percent and had
missed 30 of 35 3-pointers. He finished 15-for-31, including 3-for-9
from beyond the arc.

"It's disappointing," Iverson said. "This is one of the teams
we are supposed to beat. We had them where we wanted and just let
it go."

Game notes
Iverson didn't play in Philadelphia's 90-76 loss at
Washington on Nov. 3. ... The Sixers were given a salary-cap
exception worth just over $4 million for Matt Geiger's
career-ending injury. ... Tyronn Lue, who defended Iverson well in the NBA
Finals last year, was booed loudly. Lue was activated from the
injured list earlier in the day. He fouled out late in the fourth.
... Sixers forward Corie Blount missed his second straight game
with a right ankle sprain. ... Iverson's second 3-pointer was his
477th and made him Philadelphia's all-time leader in 3s, passing
Hersey Hawkins. ... Iverson got a technical foul in the fourth.