WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michael Jordan's 28 first-half points showed
he can't win a game by himself. In fact, his teammates put together
the decisive run while he was taking a rest.
Jordan finished with 32, but it was Larry Hughes, Brendan
Haywood and Kwame Brown who did all the scoring in the key 12-2
fourth-quarter run as the Washington Wizards beat the Orlando Magic
108-93 Thursday night.
The Wizards recovered from their most embarrassing loss of the
season and proved they can be competitive without injured leading
scorer Jerry Stackhouse. Hughes and the front court combinations of
Haywood, Brown, Christian Laettner and Etan Thomas more than
"Our big men were responsible for that win tonight,'' coach
Doug Collins said. "When they were trying to come over and help on
Michael, our big guys did a good job of finding the open areas and
finishing. We played as good a game as you could play without
The Wizards beat the Magic for the first time in three meetings
this season in a game between two .500 teams expected to battle for
playoff position in April. Washington also recovered from a
lifeless 84-75 home loss to undermanned Toronto on Tuesday.
"We were really mad from the other night,'' said Laettner, who
scored 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting. "We just regrouped. We
realized this was a big game. We're both right there for playoff
Tracy McGrady scored 31 points for the Magic, who overcame a
16-point first-half deficit but fell apart with just one field goal
in the first 4:59 of the final period.
"When you play defense like that, you deserve to lose
basketball games,'' Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "They came to
The Magic, who have lost four of their last five, also played
the second half without Grant Hill, who was again sidelined with a
sore left ankle after playing just 12 minutes in the first half.
Rivers said it might be time to give the six-time All-Star
another extended rest.
"He tried to go,'' Rivers said. "We could see early on, he was
struggling moving, so we shut him down.''
Hughes scored nine of his 22 points in the fourth. Haywood had
five of his season-high 16 points, and Brown scored all of his nine
points in the final period.
Haywood's game came on the day that he was overlooked in favor
of Chicago's Tyson Chandler on the rosters for the NBA's
rookie-sophomore game during All-Star Weekend.
"They just pick people randomly, huh?'' said Haywood, when told
of Chandler's selection.
Jordan was 12-for-25 from the field, but just 2-for-7 in the
second half. He made up for it with five of his eight assists in
the fourth quarter.
Jordan, seemingly determined to compensate for his lumbering
second-half performance on Tuesday, came out of the blocks like a
one-man show. He scored 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting in the first
quarter, capping the period with a pair of free throws after
stealing the ball from Darrell Armstrong.
"I thought it was one of those nights where he was going to get
50,'' McGrady said. "Thank God, he stopped shooting, spreading the
The Wizards committed only one turnover in the first period and
led 38-22 on 62 percent shooting.
The Magic started to come back while Jordan rested at the start
of the second quarter, with McGrady leading an 11-2 run. McGrady
later made one of two free throws to cut the lead to two.
The halftime scores: Wizards over Magic 55-49, and Jordan over
McGrady 28-16. Jordan also had two assists, but he would have had
more if his post players could catch his deft passes out of double
teams in the paint.
The Magic opened the second half with a 9-3 run to tie the game
and trailed 74-71 going into the fourth. But McGrady and Co. went
cold, and Haywood's three-point play with 9:45 to go gave the
Wizards a double-digit lead they never relinquished.
Collins has been saying that Stackhouse will miss at least
a week, but he said before the game it could very well be a month.
Stackhouse will be re-examined Saturday. "We just don't know,''
Collins said. "That's how seasons change.'' ... The Wizards' 38
first-quarter points were the most they've scored in any quarter
this season. ... The Wizards are 14-0 when scoring 100 points or
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