"I was happy he wasn't playing tonight," Glenn Robinson said
after tying his season high with 38 points as the free-falling
Bucks beat the Washington Wizards 105-90 Wednesday night, hours
after Jordan went on the disabled list with a swollen right knee.
"His court presence changes the game with his teammates and
with the officials," Robinson said. "When Mike's got the ball,
the referees call it by the book. When he's not on the court, they
might not get some of the calls that they get when he's out there.
And that's just because he's a respected player and he's a smart
player and he stays on the officials."
Jordan had scored 34 points in just 26 minutes the last time
these teams met, a 107-98 Wizards victory on March 29.
It was his best post-return performance since Jordan returned
from arthroscopic surgery two weeks ago.
"Regardless with or without Jordan, they beat us pretty good
down there," Robinson said. "We wanted to come back and get
Jordan rushed his rehabilitation from the arthroscopic surgery
Feb. 27 that repaired torn cartilage in the knee. He missed just 12
games and was a reserve in all seven games after he came back.
But he played a career-low 12 minutes and scored a career-low
two points in Tuesday night's 113-93 loss to the Los Angeles
Lakers. Jordan traveled to Milwaukee after the game but flew home
Wednesday after deciding he couldn't play any longer on the balky
Bucks coach George Karl called it just about the first break the
Bucks had gotten all season.
Karl said when he saw film of the Wizards-Lakers game on the
Bucks' flight from Atlanta Tuesday night, he feared the worst.
"I was analyzing that he realized he couldn't beat the Lakers
and they were resting him for our game," Karl said. "So, my
paranoia was pretty high."
Sam Cassell, who had 19 points and 12 assists, scored nine
points in a 20-0 run the Bucks used to take a 31-16 lead in the
first quarter. Robinson had 22 points by halftime as the Bucks
built a 55-37 lead.
They led by 24 before the Wizards cut it to eight in the third
quarter. Behind an 11-0 run, the Wizards pulled to 76-68. But
Anthony Mason's three-point play gave Milwaukee a 79-68 lead
heading into the fourth quarter.
Washington coach Dave Collins refused to blame Jordan's absence
for his team's troubles. After all, he missed 14 games before this.
"We've played without Michael and we've played good
basketball," Collins said. "That's no excuse."
Milwaukee won for just the fifth time in 15 games.
"We needed this win more than anything, it didn't matter who we
were playing," Robinson said. "It didn't matter if we were
playing a college team. This was a big win for us."
Karl is doing his best to exude an air of optimism, declaring
that his injury riddled and inconsistent team still has a long
playoff run in them despite having frittered away any homecourt
"I still feel if we scrap, we can scrape out a (road) game in
the first round and then go on and do what we did last year," Karl
The Bucks were expected to challenge for the conference crown
this season after taking Philadelphia to Game 7 of the Eastern
Conference finals last summer.
The Wizards' hopes of a playoff berth might have gone down with
Jordan. And some of his teammates wonder whether Jordan has played
his last NBA game.
"I would love to have him back," Christian Laettner said.
"But he has to do whatever his knees tell him."
Bucks guard Ray Allen, who is day-to-day with tendinitis in his
left knee and a stomach virus, missed his sixth straight game. He
will try to practice Thursday. ... Bucks guard Michael Redd, who has
been on the disabled list with a sprained left knee since March 28,
will be evaluated Thursday. ... Forward Bobby Simmons came off the injured
list to take Jordan's spot.