- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 27, 2001

CHARLOTTE, N.C. The end came with 2:59 left in the game, on a 16-foot Stacy Augmon jumper that sent the first sellout (23,799) crowd of the season at Charlotte Coliseum into a frenzy.
Augmon's jumper put the Hornets on top of the Wizards 89-80, forcing the Wizards to call time out in what would ultimately be a 99-93 Washington loss. The effort ended the Wizards' bid to win what would have been a franchise record 10 games in a row.
The nine-game winning streak, which began in Houston on Dec. 6, represents the third time in franchise history that a Washington team has won nine in a row, the last coming in 1978.
"Now we have to strap it on and get back to business," said coach Doug Collins. "We've had a great month so far and now we just need to finish out the month strong."
Almost as uncanny as the streak that has revived their season was the way last night's game played out. Charlotte outshot the Wizards 59.7 percent (a season high) to 44.9 percent and outrebounded them 44 to 22.
The loss also ended the Wizards' six-game road winning streak.
Charlotte (13-15) placed five players in double figures, led by Elden Campbell's 17 points and 13 rebounds. Baron Davis had 15 points and a career high 15 assists.
Michael Jordan led the Wizards with a game-high 28 points but made only 11 of 28 shots. Popeye Jones and Tyronn Lue added 15 points each. However, rookie center Brendan Haywood, a force during the team's nine-game winning run, was held scoreless and grabbed just two rebounds in 23 minutes. The Wizards were playing their second game in a row without injured Richard Hamilton, who is nursing a partially torn right groin.
"Our defense didn't execute tonight," Jordan said. "We didn't establish an inside game. Our defense let us down more than our offense tonight."
The Wizards led by as many as nine points in the first half, but the Hornets grabbed control of the game with a 22-7 run that took them from trailing the Wizards 67-58 with seven minutes left in the third quarter to leading 82-74 with nine minutes to play in the game.
At the start of the Charlotte run, the Hornets threw a zone defense at the Wizards that clearly had them perplexed. All of a sudden the easy looks at the basket disappeared and the Wizards apparently tighten up.
Washington, which shot 56.8 percent from the field in the first half, closed the second quarter on a nice run to lead 57-52 at halftime. This lead came despite the Hornets connecting on 22 of 35 shots from the field.
Paced by Jordan's 11 points on a pair of 3-pointers from Chris Whitney (13 points), Washington carved out a 30-29 lead despite allowing the Hornets to make 66.7 percent of their shots in ther first quarter. The Wizards' shooting wasn't bad either. Washington connected on 55.5 percent of its shots from the floor.
With Jordan on the bench to start of the second quarter, Washington turned to Lue for a spark. Scoreless in the first quarter, Lue, who has been shooting the ball well, found his range from the outside.
The Wizards relinquished the lead for the first time in the second quarter on a Campbell basket with 6:59 to play in the half. This was the beginning of an 8-3 run that eventually gave Charlotte a 46-41 lead.
However, Lue would score again, hitting the second of back-to-back 3s to pull the Wizards to within 46-44. That bucket was Lue's last of the quarter, as Wizards coach Doug Collins replaced him with 4:22 left.
At the time it seemed like a questionable decision but ultimately it worked out for the best.
Washington, which forced the Hornets into five turnovers in the quarter, also held the Hornets to just two field goals and a pair of free throws the rest of the period. This resulted in a 13-6 Wizards run capped by Hubert Davis' three pointer with 7.7 seconds left and punctuated by a Haywood block of a David Wesley layup to end the first half.
"It felt like we were really surpised to lose," said Lue. "And that's how you're supposed to feel. That's what its all about."

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