Alexander, who did not play by coach's decision in the three
previous games, started in place of Jordan, who sat out due to a
hyperextended right knee. It was the first time since March 5,
1993, that Jordan missed a game due to injury.
The Spurs drew a crowd of 35,052, and Jordan was still the man
everyone wanted to see. Attired in a stylish tan sports coat and
dark tie, he heard a generous helping of cheers from the partisan
crowd as he slowly walked to his seat on the bench.
Robinson said he hoped some of the fans were there to watch the
Spurs, but he understood their applause for the prominent visitor.
"I'm sure a lot of the fans think this might be their last
chance to see Michael Jordan," he said. "They still got to see
him, but I'm sure it wasn't the same."
Wizards guard Tyronn Lue said that while Jordan wasn't in
uniform, his presence was felt by his teammates.
"(Jordan) was very helpful to us when we made mistakes
tonight," said Lue. "It's nice to have the greatest player ever
explaining things to you in the huddle."
San Antonio broke open the game with a 16-0 run late in the
third quarter that boosted its lead to 26. Even that burst
reflected the balanced offensive effort on the night, as six
different players scored.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich sat most of his starters in the
third and went all the way to the end of his bench. The Spurs'
reserves contributed 45 of the team's 103 points.
"The bench players went in and didn't miss a step," said
Duncan, who played only 28 minutes. "It was great to see some of
the guys who don't get a lot of minutes get out there and get up
and down the court tonight."
What ended up as a runaway was a tight contest in the early
The teams swapped the lead 11 times in the first quarter before
the Spurs took the advantage for good at 25-24 on a dunk by Daniels
with 1:15 left in the second quarter.
Washington made 10 of its 17 field goal attempts in the first,
but lost the touch for most of the second quarter. San Antonio,
meanwhile, built its lead up to double-digits on the strength of
Robinson's inside work and 3-pointers by Charles Smith and Tony
The Wizards made five of their last seven shots of the half, but
still could trim only a couple of points off the Spurs' margin.
Game notes Duncan's double-double was his 14th in 16 games this
season. ... San Antonio reserve forward Cherokee Parks was like
Mike -- he also didn't dress for the game because of a hyperextended
right knee. ... The last regular-season game Jordan missed was also
in San Antonio, that time due to a foot infection.