Final / 2OT

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/26

Game 1: Tuesday, November 26th
Game 2: Friday, November 29th
Game 3: Saturday, January 4th
Game 4: Tuesday, February 25th

Pacers 104

(23-10, 9-9 away)

Wizards 107

(16-17, 11-6 home)

7:00 PM ET, January 4, 2003

Verizon Center, Washington, DC

1 2 3 4 OT 2OT T
IND 22 31 23 21 7 104
WSH 31 22 21 23 10 107

Top Performers

Indiana: A. Harrington 33 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

Washington: M. Jordan 41 Pts, 12 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl

Jordan gets 41 points, 12 boards in thriller

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Determined to win no matter how long he played, Michael Jordan put up some of his biggest numbers of the season.

Michael Jordan

Jordan scored a season-high 41 points in 53 minutes and teamed with Charles Oakley to win a battle of old vs. young as the Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 107-104 in double overtime Saturday night.

"I've been waiting for the moment,'' Jordan said. "I've been getting close. Tonight, with the highest of things at stake, my game came to me. I was able to make a big impact. Hopefully, this is just the start of something big.''

Jordan scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and two overtimes and added a season-high 12 rebounds in his first 40-point game of the season. He made 14 of 26 shots from the field and 10 of 12 from the line, including a pair of free throws that gave the Wizards the lead for good.

"I look down and see 53 minutes, that worries me,'' said coach Doug Collins, who wanted to keep the 39-year-old Jordan around 30 minutes per game this season. "But had I taken him out tonight, I probably would have been fired.''

Jordan and Oakley, who has been rarely used this season, battled wills and wits with Al Harrington and Jermaine O'Neal in a tense thriller. Harrington finished with 33 points, and O'Neal had 26 points and 13 rebounds.

Oakley matched his season-high with 27 minutes and was a big veteran defensive presence on Harrington down the stretch. Jordan also created a key turnover, knocking the ball out of bounds off Harrington in the final minute of double overtime.

Larry Hughes scored 23 points, and Jerry Stackhouse had 20 for the Wizards, who won their third straight and got a rare victory over the Pacers, who had won 18 of the last 20 meetings.

"That was the best win of the season,'' Stackhouse said. "We had our resolve, and we just stayed with it. We had times when it didn't look good, had times when it started to look good and didn't look good again. We just hung in there.''

The Wizards took the lead for good when Jordan made two free throws after he was fouled by Harrington driving to the basket with 3:03 to go. There were several missed baskets and turnovers before someone finally scored again -- Christian Laettner made two free throws with 1:01 to play.

Erick Strickland cut the lead to one with a 3-pointer with 43.8 left, but Harrington's turnover cost the Pacers the ball. Stackhouse made a pair of free throws to get the lead to three, and Reggie Miller missed two 3-pointers in the final seconds.

"A bounce here or there, and the game could have gone another way,'' Indiana coach Isiah Thomas said.

The game took a toll on the Pacers, who played in New York the night before. Indiana was without forward Ron Artest, who was suspended for three games without pay and fined $35,000 by the NBA on Saturday for hurling a television monitor and smashing a camera to pieces following the loss to the Knicks.

Asked what difference it made not having Artest, Thomas said: "You saw it -- 41.''

The final minutes of the fourth quarter were an incredible back-and-forth among determined stars. Harrington's double-pump 14-footer gave the Pacers a one-point lead. Jordan responded with a 3-pointer. Oakley added a baseline jumper. O'Neal powered for a layup. Jamaal Tinsley made a 3-pointer.

Jordan drove home a one-handed dunk over O'Neal. Harrington hit a jumper. Jordan made one of two free throws. O'Neal fed Tinsley for a layup. Jordan hit a fadeaway over Ron Mercer.

That left the score tied at 93 with 52 seconds to play and the sellout crowd on its feet. O'Neal hit a fadeaway 13-footer, Hughes made a layup and Miller missed a jumper at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

The first overtime was an emotional letdown, a tense five minutes that produced just eight points. O'Neal missed a fadeaway at the buzzer that could have won it.

Game notes

Jordan's regular-season career high in minutes is 56, but he once played 57 in a playoff game. ... Neither team was happy with the officiating. The Pacers were upset over a flagrant foul by Harrington on Jordan in the second overtime, and the Wizards complained about numerous calls. ... Jordan's last 40-point game was Jan. 26, 2002 against Phoenix, when he scored 41. ... Rookie Fred Jones made his first career start in place of Artest, but he took just one shot from the field and scored four points in 25 minutes. ... It was the Wizards' first overtime game of the season. The Pacers are 3-1 in OT.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 104 107
FGM-FGA 37-88 (.420) 39-89 (.438)
3PM-3PA 10-20 (.500) 7-21 (.333)
FTM-FTA 20-27 (.741) 22-28 (.786)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-45 15-48
Assists 25 25
Turnovers 23 21
Steals 11 13
Blocks 3 6
Fast Break Points 3 5
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/1) 27 (1/0)

Top Performers

Al Harrington Harrington
Points: 33
Reb: 4
Ast: 1
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Michael Jordan Jordan
Points: 41
Reb: 12
Ast: 4
Stl: 3
Blk: 0