Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/16

Game 1: Friday, November 16th
Game 2: Thursday, March 21st

Wizards 79

(32-37, 15-21 away)

Jazz 94


    Coverage: KJZZ

    7:00 PM ET, March 21, 2002

    EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 27 19 13 2079
    UTAH 28 25 17 2494

    Top Performers

    WSH: P. Jones 10 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    UTAH: K. Malone 23 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

    Jordan scores 11 in second game back

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Memo from Bryon Russell to Michael Jordan: Take that!

    Michael Jordan


    MJ sandwich: John Stockton, right, and Karl Malone collapse on Michael Jordan.

    Karl Malone scored 23 points, and John Stockton had 19 as the Utah Jazz beat the Washington Wizards 94-79 Thursday night in Jordan's first game at the Delta Center since his winning shot in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals.

    Russell scored 11 for the Jazz, including a 3-pointer from the right corner with 3:10 to play as Jordan tried to blanket him. That ended an 8-0 run after the Wizards trimmed Utah's 16-point lead to 83-75.

    "Yeah! I got it right in his face," said Russell, who was infamously burned by Jordan's big shot in the 1998 Finals.

    "I hope you hear that, Michael, on your plane ride home," Russell added, looking into a television camera and smiling. "Clock running down, I looked at him, sized him up a little bit and I just shot the ball."

    A moment later, he added: "I don't need to throw him down to get a shot off."

    It was a moment of vindication for Russell, who has dodged questions about Jordan's return all season. He claims Jordan pushed him on the game-winner in the 1998 Finals, but no foul was called.

    "He hit that big shot over me in the corner," said Jordan, who had 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting. "I think he got a little gratification out of that."

    Richard Hamilton scored 14 for Washington, which lost to Utah for the seventh straight time.

    Jordan played 22 minutes, his second game back after missing 12 following surgery on his right knee Feb. 27. Although flashbulbs popped every time he shot, Jordan wasn't a factor.

    "My knee feels good. My minutes are increasing," he said. "Three weeks was a good conservative time. I've felt good, with no setbacks."

    Jordan hadn't returned to the arena since June 14, 1998, when he stole the ball from Malone, slapped Russell away, stepped back and drilled a 17-footer to give the Chicago Bulls their sixth NBA title.

    "I don't think he (Russell) wants to remember things like that," Jordan said.

    The two exchanged a greeting when Jordan came into the game with 5:11 on the clock in the first quarter.

    "It was, `What's up? How you doing?"' Russell said.

    "It was good to see him," Jordan said. "It was more or less just saying hello."

    Most of the time, Jordan looked like he was coming back from an injury. He couldn't jump high enough to slam home an alley-oop from Tyronn Lue early in the fourth quarter.

    "I got a little tired in the second half, with the altitude and not playing," he said. "But I got in a good rhythm in the second quarter and that felt good."

    Jordan retired after that 1998 basket and ended up on Washington's management team, at least until his competitive drive brought him back to play for the Wizards this season.

    "I give Mike a lot of credit," Stockton said. "He's not a guy that's going to sit back and wait for a lottery pick. He comes trying to help his team get to the playoffs."

    This time, though, there was no championship at stake when Stockton and Malone squared off against Jordan. In fact, both teams are battling for the last playoff spot in their respective conferences.

    Game notes

    NBA Commissioner David Stern watched from the stands. Like Jordan, he was back in the building for the first time since Game 6 of the 1998 Finals. ... There was a flurry of technicals in the final three minutes. They went to Hamilton, Malone, Wizards coach Doug Collins and Jazz forward Donyell Marshall. ... The crowd of 19,911 was only the third sellout this season. ... The Wizards went 4-3 on their road trip through the Western Conference. ... Malone was 2-for-2 from 3-point range. He has never hit three in a game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 79 94
    FGM-FGA 26-77 (.338) 34-77 (.442)
    3PM-3PA 4-11 (.364) 5-13 (.385)
    FTM-FTA 23-32 (.719) 21-31 (.677)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-47 12-50
    Assists 15 25
    Turnovers 13 12
    Steals 6 12
    Blocks 4 13
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (2/0) 24 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Popeye Jones Jones
    Points: 10
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Karl Malone Malone
    Points: 23
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1