Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/8

Game 1: Tuesday, January 8th
Game 2: Wednesday, March 13th

Clippers 88

(18-17, 2-10 away)

Wizards 96

(18-14, 9-6 home)

    7:00 PM ET, January 8, 2002

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAC 25 18 15 3088
    WSH 17 24 29 2696

    Top Performers

    LAC: J. McInnis 27 Pts, 3 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    WSH: M. Jordan 18 Pts, 10 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

    Wizards stay strong at MCI

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a rare visit to the MCI Center last season, president of basketball operations Michael Jordan threw a tantrum in the owners' box while watching the Wizards blow a 21-point lead and lose their annual home game against the Clippers.

    Michael Jordan puts his arm around teammate Tyronne Lue late in the fourth.

    That game was fresh in Jordan's mind when the Clippers returned Tuesday night. Back in uniform, Jordan had 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to lead Washington to a 96-88 victory.

    "The thing that I didn't like about that game was the attitude that the players had, an attitude not to lose instead of going out and winning the game," Jordan said. "That's the first time I really got angry with the attitude with this team. I felt the attitude was not proper for the franchise to turn itself around."

    Washington was 4-15 after that Clippers loss in December 2000. By contrast, Tuesday's victory was the fourth straight for the Wizards (18-14) and moved them within one victory of their total from all last season.

    "So far we've proven that we can surprise myself," Jordan said. "I just like the way the confidence on our team is."

    Before the game, Jordan addressed for the first time the divorce petition filed Friday by his wife, Juanita, saying that "work is a great avenue" to deal with such personal issues. After the game, he was asked if a reconciliation was possible.

    "That's none of your business," he said. "Quite frankly, I don't want to talk about my personal life. ... That's something probably we'll work on. I don't think I want to sit here and go through that. We have kids, obviously, and we want to make sure that's the focus. Outside of that, when the time comes, you guys will hear about it."

    Jordan recovered from a 1-for-8 first quarter to make nine of 24 shots in 42 minutes. It helped that Lamar Odom, who played well early and did a credible job defensively on Jordan, left the game for good in the second quarter with the stomach flu.

    "The guy's our best all-around player," Los Angeles coach Alvin Gentry said. "If you took M.J. off his team, it's the same as taking Lamar off ours."

    The best Jordan highlight came midway through the third quarter when he hung in the air near the free-throw line and couldn't shoot because of a double team. Just before he landed, Jordan spotted Jahidi White and passed to the big center for a dunk.

    Jordan's supporting cast included Popeye Jones (season-high 16 points), Chris Whitney (18) and Hubert Davis (16). Jones scored eight in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back jumpers in a 10-0 run after the Clippers had cut a 12-point lead to two.

    "Michael didn't beat us," Gentry said. "He was 9-for-24. That's all you can hope for. He didn't have one of those nights where he had 50. I thought Popeye Jones was as important as anybody."

    Jeff McInnis scored a season-high 27 points to lead the Clippers, who were blown out Monday night in Philadelphia and have lost six straight road games to Atlantic Division teams. Their last road win over an Atlantic team was last season's 93-88 win at the MCI Center, the game that got Jordan so upset.

    The Clippers led by as many as 10 in the first quarter, and the Wizards had 12-point lead in the third in a free-flowing game that showcased Los Angeles' young speed.

    Eric Piatkowski's 3-pointer with 4:58 to play pulled the Clippers within 79-77, but a 3-pointer by Whitney and the two jump shots by Jones put the Wizards back in control.

    "We're such a completely different team at home than we are on the road," Gentry said. "That can't be the case. We have to find a way to play with the same energy and confidence we do at home."

    Game notes
    Washington has won seven in a row at home. ... The Clippers are two games into a six-game road trip.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 88 96
    FGM-FGA 37-84 (.440) 38-79 (.481)
    3PM-3PA 4-18 (.222) 5-12 (.417)
    FTM-FTA 10-17 (.588) 15-18 (.833)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-36 9-41
    Assists 17 22
    Turnovers 13 14
    Steals 4 2
    Blocks 3 2
    Fast Break Points 6 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (2/0) 17 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Jeff McInnis McInnis
    Points: 27
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Michael Jordan Jordan
    Points: 18
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0