Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/10

Game 1: Tuesday, December 10th
Trail Blazers98Final
Wizards79
Game 2: Tuesday, March 25th
Wizards95Final
Trail Blazers91

Wizards 95

(33-37, 10-23 away)

Trail Blazers 91

(44-26, 23-12 home)

    7:00 PM ET, March 25, 2003

    Moda Center, Portland, OR

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 23 24 24 2495
    POR 15 24 23 2991

    Top Performers

    Washington: M. Jordan 25 Pts, 5 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    Portland: B. Wells 20 Pts, 10 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Blk

    Washington wins important game in playoff push

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Michael Jordan kept it interesting, even if his last on-court meeting with Scottie Pippen never materialized.

    Jahidi White

    Jahidi White, right, doesn't make it easy on the Portland offense.

    With his former teammate watching in street clothes from the Portland bench, Jordan scored 25 points as the Wizards held off a late rally to beat the Trail Blazers 95-91 Tuesday night.

    The final regular-season meeting between Jordan and Pippen, who played together on the Chicago Bulls teams that won six NBA championships in the 1990s, was derailed when Pippen went on the injured list March 19 following arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

    Jordan has said he plans to retire after this season. The only way they would face each other again is if the Wizards and Trail Blazers meet in the NBA Finals.

    The Wizards, fighting with Milwaukee for the final playoff spot in the East, snapped a three-game losing streak.

    "I would love for us to make the playoffs," Jordan said. "If we can play tomorrow and the rest of them like we played tonight, we've got a good shot."

    The Blazers, who are jockeying with Minnesota for the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference, lost for the fourth time in six games.

    Portland trailed by as many as 13 points but pulled to 79-77 on Jeff McInnis' short jumper with 5:38 to go. The Blazers kept it close until Jordan's 22-foot jumper gave the Wizards a 92-87 lead and the cushion they needed.

    "We just seemed like we were out of sync tonight. We couldn't put anything together," Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Our defense wasn't in sync, our offense wasn't in sync. Late in the game we tried to make a run, but it just wasn't enough."

    The Wizards had lost eight straight against the Blazers, and hadn't won at the Rose Garden since 1998.

    Washington led by as many as 11 in the first quarter, outshooting the Blazers 55 percent to 27.3 percent. Jordan was 5-of-6 from the floor. By halftime, with the Wizards up 47-39, Jordan led all scorers with 14 points. He put the Wizards ahead 65-53 with a vintage 15-foot fadeaway jumper in the third quarter.

    "It was a fun game tonight," Jordan said. "When everybody is playing well, it is a fun game. When you struggle, it is not so fun."

    Although neither knew it at the time, Jordan and Pippen probably met on the court for the final time on Dec. 10 in Washington. Pippen had 14 points and seven rebounds in Portland's 98-79 victory. Jordan scored 14 points.

    "I was looking forward to this," Pippen said before the game. "Unfortunately, injuries happen in this game, and this is a situation that happened and I'm pretty sad not to be on the court tonight."

    Jordan added seven assists. Jerry Stackhouse scored 24 points, and Tyronn Lue had 21.

    "T-Lue was fabulous tonight, Jahidi (White) got us off to a great start inside. (Christian) Laettner did a solid job," Wizards coach Doug Collins said. "And Michael was incredible."

    Bonzi Wells led the Blazers with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

    Jordan drew wild cheers from the sellout crowd with an alley-oop dunk that put the Wizards ahead 8-5 early, as Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight watched from a courtside seat. Jordan is the star pitchman for the Beaverton, Ore., company.

    "Michael knows this is the end, and he wants to do it right," Collins said. "He is always the best player mentally, and tonight he had his legs."

    Game notes
    Oregon guard Luke Ridnour, considering a future in the NBA after the Ducks' quick exit from the NCAA Tournament, was in attendance. ... The Blazers paid tribute to Jordan with a collection of career highlights shown on the video scoreboard before the game and during the first timeout of each half. ... A man briefly disrupted the game when he ran onto the court at the end of the third quarter holding a sign reading ``No War.'' He was quickly removed from the arena.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    WSH
    POR
    Points 95 91
    FGM-FGA 41-80 (.513) 37-81 (.457)
    3PM-3PA 3-7 (.429) 4-10 (.400)
    FTM-FTA 10-12 (.833) 13-22 (.591)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-36 16-44
    Assists 25 27
    Turnovers 8 15
    Steals 8 5
    Blocks 7 4
    Fast Break Points 5 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 16 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Washington
    Portland
    Michael Jordan Jordan
    Points: 25
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Bonzi Wells Wells
    Points: 20
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2