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Jordan adds eight assists to go with 27 points

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The All-Star break comes at the right time for
Michael Jordan, who is piling on the minutes and the points with
Jerry Stackhouse out of the lineup.

Jordan, two weeks shy of his 40th birthday, scored 27 points in
43 minutes Tuesday night as the Washington Wizards beat the
Cleveland Cavaliers 93-84.

"This is one of the toughest games, when you know you've got
seven days off after that," Jordan said. "Guys are thinking about
spending time with their families. It's tough, but we had to gut it
out."

Stackhouse, the Wizards' leading scorer, missed his second
straight game with a groin injury. On Saturday, he watched as
Jordan scored 45 points in 44 minutes in a victory over New
Orleans.

The All-Star layoff time means Stackhouse should be back next
week when the Wizards resume play at Sacramento, relieving Jordan
of a big chunk of the workload.

"We want to get Jerry back healthy and get a complete team
together," said coach Doug Collins, whose team enters the break in
eighth place in the Eastern Conference. "Let's see what we can
do."

Despite constant double-teams, Jordan made 13-of-26 shots and
had eight assists as the Wizards held off a stubborn challenge by
the NBA's worst team. Neither team led by double digits until the
final two minutes, even though starting Cleveland point guard Smush
Parker sprained his right ankle on a layup in the first quarter and
did not return.

Dajuan Wagner scored 19 points, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 18
points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have lost four
straight overall and seven in a row on the road. Cleveland wasted a
50-36 rebound advantage with 22 turnovers, including several
unforced sloppy passes out of bounds.

The Wizards scored 31 points -- exactly one-third of their total
-- off turnovers.

"Usually we'd come into a game like this and lose by 30 or
40," said Darius Miles, who scored 13 points. "Now we're
disciplined, and we're in the game. We'll make our mistakes while
we're young."

As he did on Saturday, Jordan worked himself free using screens
and a variety of fadeaways over double teams. He leaped backward to
gain separation for back-to-back jumpers around the five-minute
mark of the fourth quarter to slow Cleveland's momentum not long
after the Cavaliers cut a six-point lead to one.

He was also able to find the open man out of the double-teams
when necessary.

"I was able to move the ball a lot easier in the fourth quarter
because everybody was trying to shut me down in the second half,"
Jordan said.

Cleveland then went more than four minutes without scoring, and
the Wizards went up by 10 with a minute remaining.

Jordan started off fast again, scoring Washington's first three
baskets, getting an assist on the fourth and drawing two fouls on
Miles in the first three minutes. Jordan had 11 points in the
period, and Byron Russell went 4-for-4, but the Wizards blew a
seven-point lead and were up just 31-29 at the end of the quarter.

Ilgauskas scored 10 in the second quarter as the Cavaliers built
a huge rebound advantage, but Jordan's feed to Etan Thomas for a
dunk helped Washington end the period with a 6-0 run and a 52-45
lead at the half.

The Cavaliers opened the second half with a 7-0 run to tie the
game, but the Wizards responded with a 10-2 spurt to go up 62-54.
Miles, who hadn't scored since the first quarter, got going again
with a pair of layups as Cleveland pulled within four, 70-66, to
start the fourth quarter.

While the Wizards went into break with needed momentum, the
Cavaliers have downsized their goals.

"Obviously we're not going anywhere this season," Ilgauskas
said. "But we don't want to lose every game, too. Hopefully we can
get some wins after the break."

Game notes
Washington's Larry Hughes, who missed the New Orleans game
with a bruised knee, returned and played 19 minutes off the bench.
... The Wizards are 3-0 against the Cavaliers this season.

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