Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/6

Game 1: Thursday, December 6th
Game 2: Monday, February 18th

Rockets 102


Wizards 89

(27-24, 15-11 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    1:00 PM ET, February 18, 2002

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 20 28 30 24102
    WSH 20 29 21 1989

    Top Performers

    Houston: C. Mobley 31 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Washington: M. Jordan 11 Pts, 6 Reb, 11 Ast

    Knee trouble will force Jordan to bench

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Once Michael Jordan's knee acted up again, the Wizards had no chance to hold down the Houston Rockets.

    Michael Jordan

    Michael Jordan didn't do much scoring, as Rockets like Eddie Griffin held him in check.

    Steve Francis, who was questionable before tipoff with another migraine, scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and had nine rebounds as the Rockets upset Washington 102-89 Monday.

    Jordan scored only 11 points on 6-for-15 shooting and revealed after the game that he has had another fluid buildup in his right knee. He said he will probably have it drained and will miss Wednesday night's game at Detroit, only the second game he has missed all season.

    "I am 39," said Jordan, whose birthday was Sunday. "And I've taken my body through a lot. It sends me signals, and I got to listen. I can't go against it."

    Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kenny Thomas scored all the points in a 22-8 run that broke open a tight game and gave the Rockets an 80-70 lead early in the fourth quarter. Mobley had 31 points, and Thomas, whose jump shots kept Houston in the game in the first half, finished with 21.

    Jordan has suffered from tendinitis in the knee all season and missed a game at San Antonio on Dec. 4. The injury was aggravated when he banged knees with teammate Eton Thomas in a game against Sacramento before the All-Star game, but Jordan didn't feel the effects until this weekend.

    "The competitive nature sometimes is just to gut it out," said Jordan, who plans to return for Thursday's home game against New Jersey. "But if you're looking at the long haul ... you have to kind of use your head a little bit. It gives the team a little chance to go out and live on their own a little bit without their father being around."

    Francis fought off his own recurring pain in his return to his hometown area. He has missed five games this season with migraines.

    "I wasn't going to walk out there today," Francis said. "It was real close. But I had to -- it's the 35 tickets I bought. You've got to go out there."

    Richard Hamilton scored 21, and Chris Whitney had 19 for the Wizards, who had won four straight at home and six of eight overall. Jordan, playing the playmaker instead of the scorer because of his knee, had a season-high 11 assists.

    "I got into that passive mode and got everybody involved," Jordan said. "And I couldn't get out of it. They couldn't get out it."

    Moochie Norris had 15 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds for the Rockets, who had lost four of six. Coach Rudy Tomjanovich got his 450th NBA victory on the 10th anniversary of his hiring as the Rockets coach.

    "We're always in the dark," Tomjanovich said. "We can't get our teeth into what our lineup's going to be. They came in today and asked who was starting and I said I didn't know yet -- and that was an hour before the game. I gave him two different lineups."

    Thomas started Houston's decisive run with two jump shots, and Mobley followed with a 3-pointer. Francis, who was having a quiet game, then beat Jordan down the court on a fast break, converted the layup and drew the foul for a three-point play with 4:48 to go in the third quarter.

    Francis capped the quarter with a pair of 3-pointers, including one after a chaotic scramble with 1.8 seconds left after he had a shot blocked by Brendan Haywood.

    Play in the first quarter was clean and steady. The 12 minutes included just one turnover, two free throws and four fouls and ended with the score tied at 20. Jordan was 0-for-3 with five assists.

    In the second quarter, the players shook off the effects of the early start time and picked up the energy. Jordan sliced along the baseline for an eye-popping reverse layup, then he got his seventh assist with a 50-foot alley-oop pass to Tyrone Nesby for a fast-break layup.

    Game notes
    Francis had his number "honored" at the University of Maryland at the Duke-Maryland game on Sunday, even though he only played a year for the Terrapins. Francis, who wore No. 23 at Maryland, is the 12th Maryland player to have his jersey honored -- the term used by the school because the number isn't actually retired. ... The Rockets are 13-11 against Jordan.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 102 89
    FGM-FGA 40-77 (.519) 37-88 (.420)
    3PM-3PA 8-15 (.533) 2-13 (.154)
    FTM-FTA 14-17 (.824) 13-15 (.867)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-45 14-38
    Assists 25 23
    Turnovers 12 5
    Steals 3 4
    Blocks 4 6
    Fast Break Points 6 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (0/0) 16 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Cuttino Mobley Mobley
    Points: 31
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Michael Jordan Jordan
    Points: 11
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 11
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0