Curry fought off picks and wrapped himself around Jordan as they
jostled back and forth, denying point guard Chris Whitney any
chance of a pass. With the clock running down and the Washington
Wizards trailing by two, Whitney had to take the shot himself.
He missed, and so did Hubert Davis with a follow-up jumper.
Jordan never touched the ball, the Detroit Pistons got the rebound,
made a free throw and won 89-86 on Tuesday night.
"He denied me well," said Jordan, who scored 14 of his 32
points in the fourth quarter. "I never really could get open. No
one really gave me a good screen, but we had two good looks."
While Curry was the defensive hero, the big points at the other
end were scored by Clifford Robinson, who made a 9-foot jump shot
to tie it with 1:08 remaining and followed with the winning basket,
a 19-footer over Popeye Jones with 18.8 seconds to play.
A few seconds before his two big shots, Robinson crashed hard on
the floor after falling for one of Jordan's fakes. Robinson needed
a few seconds to recover, and coach Rick Carlisle left him. Jordan
made the two free throws -- Washington's final points -- to give the
Wizards an 86-84 lead.
"I was hoping I didn't hurt anything bad enough," Robinson
said. "And after sitting down there and letting the pain go away
for a second, Rick drew up the play, and I had to be ready to make
Added center Ben Wallace: "We might need to knock Clifford down
Jerry Stackhouse, disappointed he wasn't selected for the
All-Star game earlier in the day, led the Pistons with 24 points,
six rebounds and six assists, but he was 1-for-6 in the final
quarter as the Wizards overcame a 12-point deficit. Robinson
finished with 14 points, and Chucky Atkins had 20.
Jordan was 13-for-30 from the field with seven assists, five
rebounds and two turnovers and 42 minutes. He scored all but four
of the Wizards' points in the final 12 minutes.
Jones had a season-high 17 points, and Whitney scored 15.
Jordan took the defeat particularly hard because the Pistons and
Wizards entered with identical records, appearing set to battle
each other for a playoff spot over the second half of the season.
Of course, it's an indication of how far Washington has come that
Jordan can even mention playoffs this time of year.
"They've beat us twice already, and talking about a tiebreaker
possibility, we could have evened it up with this game," Jordan
said. "That hurts."
The Pistons built a 76-64 lead late in the third, but the
Wizards erased it with a 12-0 run that included Jordan's banked-in
18-foot running jump shot at the third-quarter buzzer. Jordan also
made the first two baskets of the fourth, and his jumper tied it at
76 with 10:04 to play.
Stackhouse tried to respond but missed his next four shots, the
last of which was blocked by rookie Brendan Haywood. The game
remained tight the rest of the way, with Robinson making the
deciding shots -- and Curry playing the big defense on Jordan.
"That was a big play," Stackhouse said. "All of us were
fighting over who was going to guard him the last play. He won."
Game notes Wizards coach Doug Collins said Richard Hamilton, the
team's second leading scorer, might return Thursday after missing
17 games with a groin tear. ... The Wizards are the top 3-point
shooting team in the league, but they made just 2-of-8 against
Detroit. ... Despite their fourth-quarter comeback, the Wizards
fell to 0-21 when trailing after three. ... Stackhouse on not
getting chosen for the All-Star game: "I was disappointed. I would
have liked to have had that opportunity. But I'm still happy about
our situation. I would much rather be able to go to the playoffs
and have a chance to shine in the playoffs than to be an All-Star
like I was last year and be sitting at home watching the