Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/17

Game 1: Tuesday, December 17th
Game 2: Saturday, December 28th
Game 3: Thursday, April 3rd
Game 4: Saturday, April 12th

Wizards 109

(11-13, 4-8 away)

Hawks 99

(10-14, 8-4 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:30 PM ET, December 17, 2002

    Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 34 30 22 23109
    ATL 22 31 26 2099

    Top Performers

    WSH: M. Jordan 30 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast

    Atl: G. Robinson 33 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    MJ rebounds with season-high 30 points

    ATLANTA (AP) -- Michael Jordan has a message for the rest of the NBA.

    "I don't want anybody to think I can't score," he said. "I can score if I want to."

     Michael Jordan

    Jordan rebounded from one of the worst games of his career to score a season-high 30 points as the Washington Wizards beat Atlanta 109-99 Tuesday night.

    On Sunday, Jordan had only two points in 40 minutes -- matching the career low he set last April -- but equaled that 17 seconds into this game with a jumper from the wing. He easily got open shots against the Hawks, spending most of the night working against Glenn Robinson and Ira Newble.

    "The guy is the most proud man I've ever known," coach Doug Collins said of Jordan. "He absorbed that stuff a lot harder than anybody knew. He just didn't show it."

    Jerry Stackhouse added 23 points and Larry Hughes 20 for the Wizards, who moved a game ahead of Atlanta in the Eastern Conference with their second straight victory. With Milwaukee's loss to Toronto in overtime, the Wizards hold the eighth and final playoff spot.

    Robinson scored 33 points for the Hawks, who have lost a season-high four in a row. Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 20 points and 10 rebounds.

    Jordan, making his next-to-last appearance in Atlanta, drew the loudest cheers of the night and got a standing ovation when he walked off with 13.6 seconds left.

    "These people have always ... given me the highest of praise, even when I was in college," he said. "So it's always fun to come back and play here."

    Late in the fourth quarter, with the home team trying to rally, fans were yelling at Jordan to take the ball to the basket. He did just that, making a reverse layup with 3:33 left to tie his previous high this season. Then he lofted a left-handed hook over Theo Ratliff for his final basket.

    "I've been working on that," Jordan quipped. "I had confidence I could do it, or obviously I wouldn't have done it. I wasn't going to settle on a jump shot."

    Jordan appeared to thoroughly enjoy himself, even when he wasn't scoring. He paused to talk to fans in the first row before throwing an inbound pass, and joked with Atlanta guard Jason Terry.

    "He was just letting me know it was his night, and there was nothing we could do," Terry said. "He said, 'I was backing you down and no one could stop me. I've being doing this my whole career.'"

    The cheering for Jordan didn't bother Terry.

    "That's Michael Jordan. That's the greatest player ever," Terry said. "I understand totally. If I was in the stands, I would have cheered, too."

    Jordan even good-naturedly lectured Hawks coach Lon Kruger after forcing a foul from Newble in the final seconds of the third quarter. When Kruger protested, Jordan walked over to him and said, "If the ball goes up in the air, that means I was fouled."

    After Kruger slapped him on the back, Jordan made two free throws for an 86-79 lead.

    The Wizards were in control throughout, taking a 4-2 lead and never giving it up. They led 50-31 after two free throws by Jordan midway through the second period. But a late flurry by Atlanta -- culminated by a 3-pointer by Robinson -- cut the lead to 64-53 at the half.

    "They made their run, then we had an opportunity to make our run," Hughes said. "It's tough playing from behind for basically the whole game."

    Game notes
    Jordan's previous season high of 28 points came Nov. 26 against Indiana. ... The Hawks' schedule gets tough in the next week, with games against Houston, Philadelphia, Indiana and San Antonio. ... Atlanta F Chris Crawford missed his seventh straight game with a sore knee. ... Terry and Washington G Tyronn Lue each got technicals after for shoving one another in the second quarter. The two shortest players on the court got nose-to-nose, but no punches were thrown.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 109 99
    FGM-FGA 40-72 (.556) 33-73 (.452)
    3PM-3PA 6-11 (.545) 6-18 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 23-32 (.719) 27-34 (.794)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-38 11-36
    Assists 21 19
    Turnovers 12 13
    Steals 6 8
    Blocks 5 2
    Fast Break Points 4 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (1/0) 25 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Michael Jordan Jordan
    Points: 30
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Glenn Robinson Robinson
    Points: 33
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0