Wizards' retro night goes badly


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rookie J.R. Bremer's 3-pointer put Michael
Jordan one game away from an early third retirement.

Bremer, coming off the bench after 41 straight games as a
starter, scored 20 points and hit the winning 3-pointer with 19.4
seconds to play Wednesday night as the Boston Celtics clinched a
playoff berth with an 87-83 victory over the Washington Wizards.

"It was definitely the biggest shot of my NBA career,'' said
Bremer, who was 8-of-11 from the field. "In shootaround today, it
felt good. And when I came and shot before the game, it felt good.
So when I knocked down my first shot, I knew it was going to be a
big night for me.''

The loss put the Wizards 2{ games behind eighth-place Milwaukee,
which beat the Los Angeles Clippers 112-92. One more Bucks win or
one more Wizards loss will eliminate Washington.

Antoine Walker scored 24 for the Celtics, and Paul Pierce had
20, but it was Bremer who made the difference.

"We did everything we could to keep their big two out, and he
stepped in and hurt us,'' said Jordan, who led Washington with 21

Boston coach Jim O'Brien said he started Tony Delk because
Bremer had hit the rookie wall.

"I thought that he'd been playing without his usual
concentration,'' O'Brien said. "And we took him out of the
starting lineup, and he responded in a very professional way -- came
out and gave us a big game.''

The Wizards lost on retro night, spoiling the celebration the
25th anniversary of the franchise's lone NBA championship. The
Wizards -- er, Bullets -- wore their old red-and-white striped
jerseys with striped headbands and striped socks, with only the
ultra-baggy shorts marring the picture of historical accuracy. An
old Bullets logo was put down at center court, a disco strobe light
was installed, and the '70s group Peaches & Herb sang at halftime.

Washington second-year player Kwame Brown had a rare passionate
and productive game as he sported a 1970s-era Afro that looked
something like "Boom Boom'' Washington from the TV show "Welcome
Back Kotter.'' Brown, who was four years from birth when the
Bullets won the title, marked the anniversary with 17 points and
nine rebounds.

Ten players from the championships team -- including Wes Unseld,
Bob Dandridge, Phil Chenier and Mitch Kupchak -- and coach Dick
Motta were honored at halftime. The 1978 title series victory over
Seattle was remembered for Motta's mantra: "The opera ain't over
until the fat lady sings.''

Now, the fat lady is about to sing for Jordan's team, and he
wonders why the passion and emotion the young players showed
Wednesday has only just started to surface.

"Sometimes you need to get hit in the head to realize that
you're in a fight,'' Jordan said. "It's unbelievable we had to
come down to this moment where we're really fighting and scratching
to try to stay in the playoffs, when all season long we had great
opportunities to win ballgames and take advantage of it.''

After Bremer's final basket, the Wizards trailed 85-83 but
couldn't get the ball to Jordan or Jerry Stackhouse on their final
possession. Tyronn Lue missed a 16-foot fadeaway, and neither Brown
nor Christian Laettner could get the tip.

Walter McCarty got the rebound, and the Celtics made a pair of
free throws in the final two seconds.

The Wizards missed 10 of their first 11 shots and trailed 15-2
after six minutes. The Celtics went dry to start the second half,
missing their first 10 shots to give the Wizards their first lead.

An alley-oop from Lue to Jordan gave the Wizards their last lead
at 83-82 with 1:57 left. Neither team scored again until Bremer's
winning shot.

Game notes
The Celtics set an NBA season record for 3-point attempts,
putting up 25 more to get to 2,064. They passed the 1995-96 Dallas
Mavericks, who attempted 2,039. The Celtics need to make 42 more of
those long-range shots to break the record for 3-pointers made,
735, held by that same Mavericks team. ... Walker, Pierce and
Bremer scored 31 of Boston's 33 second-half points. ... Jordan's
low point: He missed a simple, wide-open one-handed dunk midway
through the second quarter. ... Stackhouse got a technical foul for
taunting in the third quarter. ... Jordan needs 17 points over his
final four games to retain the all-time scoring average lead over
Wilt Chamberlain. Jordan has averaged 30.2 to Chamberlain's 30.1