Wizards blow out Nuggets for second time in a week


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michael Jordan wouldn't have to worry about
his playoff streak if he could schedule the Denver Nuggets more

Chris Whitney and Richard Hamilton scored 22 points apiece as
the Washington Wizards beat up the Nuggets for the second time in
seven days, following last week's 32-point rout with Tuesday
night's 103-87 victory.

The game was never that competitive as the Wizards pulled within
2 1/2 games of the Indiana Pacers, who lost 96-77 to Detroit. The
Pacers hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern
Conference, and the Wizards play nine of their remaining 11 games
against teams with winning records.

Donnell Harvey had 18 points, and former Wizards forward Juwan
Howard, booed every time he touched the ball, scored 17 to lead the
Nuggets, who had a come-from-behind, one-point victory in New York
the previous night.

Courtney Alexander scored 14 points and Etan Thomas had a
career-high 13 for the Wizards, playing their first home game in
two weeks. They went 3-4 in seven straight road games.

Jordan, who has never missed the playoffs in his career, wasn't
needed much for this one. Still recovering from knee surgery, he
came in as a substitute to play 20 minutes, scoring nine points on
4-for-9 shooting with six assists. His first shot, a long-range
jumper, was stuffed by Voshon Lenard, and Jordan and Lenard talked
trash much of the game.

Jordan spent considerable time at point guard because Tyronn Lue
was out with a sinus infection. Some of Jordan's passes were
masterful, including a no-look feed to Tyrone Nesby for a dunk, and
a 70-foot pass to Hamilton for a fast-break layup.

The Wizards never trailed, led by as many as 17 in the first
quarter and had an 18-4 run early in the second. The lead was 30 in
the final minute of the first half and reached a peak of 32 in the
third quarter. The fourth quarter was garbage time for reserves on
both teams.

The difference from the outset was fouls and turnovers. The
Wizards took 15 free throws in the first quarter, compared to two
for the Nuggets. Denver had five turnovers in the period, with none
for Washington.

Game notes
The Wizards are 2-2 since Jordan returned from his injury,
with both victories against the Nuggets. ... Nuggets guard Carlos
Arroyo sat out his second straight with the flu. ... Whitney's 22
points were a season high.