Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 10/30

Game 1: Wednesday, October 30th
Game 2: Sunday, December 15th
Game 3: Tuesday, January 14th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 4th

Raptors 89

(19-38, 7-21 away)

Wizards 86

(29-31, 20-12 home)

    7:00 PM ET, March 4, 2003

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    TOR 24 20 21 2489
    WSH 25 23 16 2286

    Top Performers

    Toronto: V. Carter 24 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 6 Stl

    Washington: L. Hughes 15 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Jordan to be evaluated Wednesday

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michael Jordan's minutes kept climbing, even after he turned 40. On Tuesday, his body revolted and sent him out of the game in the second quarter.

    Jordan left in the second quarter Tuesday after scoring four points in 15 minutes.

    Jordan departed with spasms in his lower back, just when the Washington Wizards had taken their biggest lead over the Toronto Raptors. With Jordan gone, the Raptors won 89-86.

    Jordan, who was not available to comment after the game, will be evaluated Wednesday. Coach Doug Collins said it will be a "game-time" decision whether Jordan will play Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

    "We're not going to give up, regardless of who's hurt," Collins said. "Michael would be sorely upset if anybody in that locker room felt like that we could not win just because he's not playing. We will not do that as long as I'm the coach."

    Jordan hasn't missed a game this season, and the Wizards can't afford to lose him now. The loss put them one game behind Milwaukee for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

    Oddly, the injury came in what was supposed to be Jordan's 40th birthday game, scheduled for Feb. 17, but a snowstorm forced it to be postponed.

    "That's how fate works," Collins said. "We shouldn't even have been playing."

    Jordan is averaging 19.7 points, but he has played with extra intensity over the last few weeks to try to get to the playoffs one more time. He was averaging 27.3 points and 43.8 minutes since turning 40 before Tuesday's game.

    But the birthday postponement means the Wizards must play six games in nine days. Last week, Jordan was hit just above his surgically repaired right knee in a collision with Indiana's Reggie Miller. He didn't miss a start and scored 35 points in 50 minutes two nights later in an overtime victory over Houston.

    "Michael wants to play every game as if it's his last, and that's the way we're going to do it," Collins said. "If we're in a game we've got a chance to win and I tell Michael, 'I'm going to sit you down four minutes to rest,' I'm going to be lasered."

    Collins said Jordan told him recently: "Don't treat me like there's going to be something left at the end."

    The Raptors took advantage of Jordan's absence to win their third in four games from the Wizards this season, including 84-75 on Jan. 14 when three Toronto players were on 10-day contracts. Jordan was so upset after that loss he refused to talk to reporters.

    Voshon Lenard, 0-for-6 entering the fourth quarter, scored all 14 of his points in the final 12 minutes. Vince Carter had 24 points and tied a career-high with six steals, including one that kept the Wizards from getting off a potential game-tying shot at the final buzzer.

    "Six steals?" Carter said. "Sheesh. This was a fun game to be a part of. As a player, you live for these moments. In the crunch time, you're looking for somebody to score and a guy steps up -- that's what it's all about."

    Lenard made consecutive 3-pointers that gave the Raptors a five-point lead with 3:29 to play. The Wizards cut the lead to one twice, but Stackhouse missed a driving, left-handed layup that would have given Washington the lead with about 20 seconds remaining.

    "I blew it tonight," Stackhouse said. "Hopefully I don't tomorrow."

    Jordan appeared to hurt himself when he twisted his body just before making a pass near the free throw line in the second quarter. The pass was intercepted by Alvin Williams, and Jordan stumbled as he started to run downcourt. He left the game during the next stoppage.

    Jordan put his hand on his lower back as he walked into the tunnel with 4:34 remaining in the half. The Wizards were leading 40-33, but the lead was gone by early in the third quarter.

    Jordan had four points in 15 minutes when he left. Stackhouse scored 21 points for the Wizards, who won three straight last week to work themselves back into the top eight. Now they've lost back-to-back games to Miami and Toronto, both with losing records.

    Jordan missed 22 games last season with knee injuries, mostly from the wear and tear of working himself into shape for his second comeback from retirement.

    Game notes
    Wizards forward Etan Thomas had eye surgery Tuesday and is expected to miss another five to six weeks. Thomas broke the socket around his left eye when he took an elbow in the face against New Jersey on Feb. 21. ... Wizards forward Charles Oakley delivered a mighty kick to an advertising board and glared at coach Doug Collins when he was taken out in the second quarter. Oakley did not return to the game. "I was brought here to play, but I have to deal with it," Oakley said. "I signed a contract. We've got 22 more games to go, and that'll probably be the end of my career. Whatever. I'll have to deal with it after that." ... Wizards guard Larry Hughes returned after missing six games with a sprained right ankle and scored 15 points in a reserve role. ... The Wizards were 0-for-11 from 3-point range. ... The Raptors have won eight of their last 12.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 89 86
    FGM-FGA 36-82 (.439) 30-72 (.417)
    3PM-3PA 4-11 (.364) 0-11 (.000)
    FTM-FTA 13-19 (.684) 26-30 (.867)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-34 12-43
    Assists 19 16
    Turnovers 13 20
    Steals 11 7
    Blocks 5 6
    Fast Break Points 2 1
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 17 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Vince Carter Carter
    Points: 24
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 6
    Blk: 0
    Larry Hughes Hughes
    Points: 15
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0