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NBA Jordan's 27 points too much for Cavs



Published: Sat, February 8, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The 39-year-old player logged 43 minutes as Washington won, 93-84.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As if Michael Jordan weren't already drawing enough attention, he got even more when he started running his mouth.

Double-teamed almost the entire game because Jerry Stackhouse is injured, Jordan scored 27 points and had eight assists Tuesday night as the Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 93-84.

"It brought a lot of focus to me, I guess, me and my trash-talking," Jordan said. "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."

Two weeks shy of his 40th birthday, Jordan played 43 minutes after logging 44 and scoring 45 points Saturday in a victory over New Orleans.

Stackhouse -- Washington's leading scorer -- missed both games with a groin injury, but he is expected to return after the All-Star break to ease Jordan's workload.

Stubborn challenge

The Wizards held off a stubborn challenge by the NBA's worst team, even though starting Cleveland point guard Smush Parker sprained his right ankle on a layup in the first quarter and did not return. Neither team led by double digits until the final two minutes.

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 sloppy passes out of bounds.

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

"Experience was the difference," Cleveland coach Keith Smart said. "We may have trapped Jordan, but he knew how to get out of it.

"And Bryon Russell was going to stay wide of the 3-point line. He knows with his experience to let the double-team happen, keep the floor spaced so we have to rotate long," Smart said. "You can't teach that. That was taught five years into their careers, and now they know how to play basketball."

While the Wizards go into the All-Star 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."




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