- The Washington Times - Friday, December 28, 2001

INDIANAPOLIS Michael Jordan had seen his scoring figures dip during the Washington Wizards' nine-game winning streak, but last night, as Washington dropped a 108-81 decision to the Indiana Pacers, Jordan reached the offensive low-water mark of his storied career, finishing with a career-low six points in 25 minutes.
It marked the first time in 866 games that Jordan failed to score in double figures, and it also gave further indication just how much the Wizards (14-14) miss injured shooting guard Richard Hamilton.
Jordan was just 2-for-10 and didn't play in the fourth quarter, which opened with the Wizards trailing 82-55 and clearly headed to their worst lost of the season.
"The reason he had a career low is because I didn't play him in the last 12 minutes," Wizards coach Doug Collins said. "I'm not going to play Michael in that kind of situation. He probably could have gone out there and played the last eight or 10 minutes and scored eight or 10 more points, but that's not what this is all about. Nobody likes to get beat like we got beat tonight but I'm not going to put Michael out there in that kind of game because it makes no sense. We've got to play again against Charlotte on Saturday night so I'm just not going to play him in those kind of situations."
Jordan had no problems with Collins' decision. Instead he admitted that the short-handed Wizards also minus Christian Laettner just hit a wall.
"Tonight no one was really ready," Jordan said. "When we go bad, we just go bad. You can point to a lot of things. There was no continuity, no nothing. Defensively, offensively we just had nothing. Our jerseys were out there but our bodies were not. No one should be happy with this."
Last night's game came unraveled in a horrid third quarter that had the Wizards: shoot just 2-for-16 (12.5 percent) from the field; watch a 12-point Pacers' halftime lead explode to 29; and ultimately out-scored 27-12.
"I'd say it was one of the best defensive quarters we've had," said Pacers coach Isiah Thomas.
This turned the fourth quarter into nothing more than a glorified practice for reserves such as Courtney Alexander, Etan Thomas and Bobby Simmons.
According to Jordan, this might be a good thing. The Wizards will resume practice today, which is just what Jordan called for after the game.
"We need a good practice to get this out of our systems," Jordan said. "We need some real good practice time."
The Pacers have now won six consecutive games against the Wizards. At home, where most of the 18,345 fans began filing out of Conseco Fieldhouse well before the end of the game, Indiana stretched its domination over the Wizards to 10 consecutive games. Overall, the Pacers have beaten Washington in 15 of the teams' last 16 games.
Jalen Rose led all scores with 26 points in 30 minutes. The Wizards starters, playing a combined 98 minutes before Collins waved the white flag, combined to score 25 points. Tyronn Lue led the Wizards with a career-high 23 points.
Otherwise it was an abysmal showing by the Wizards. They made just 37 percent of their field goals (31 of 83) compared to the 50.6 percent (43 of 85) made by the Pacers. And on this night it was the Pacers who guarded the ball carefully, turning it over just five times compared to 14 for the Wizards.
Collins said the Wizards were feeling the fatigue playing short-handed. "I knew at the end of the first half that we had nothing in the tank," Collins said. "We didn't have it tonight. It's one of those nights in the NBA, but we're not going to get comfortable playing like this very often."
Point guard Jamaal Tinsley, last seen posting a triple-double against the Wizards on Thanksgiving Day that included a club-record 23 assists, had another game worth framing against Washington, finishing with 16 points and 12 assists.
Lue was the only Wizards player who scored in double figures. Reserve center Brendan Haywood finished with nine points and 11 rebounds.
The Pacers opened the game making 52.2 percent in the first quarter. The biggest beneficiary of this was Rose, who made six of 10 shots on his way to 15 points.
Trailing by 30-31 at the start of the second, Lue shot the Wizards back into the game.
Scoreless in the first quarter, Lue scored 10 of the Wizards' first 12 points at the start of the second quarter. This enabled the Wizards to close what had been an 11-point lead in the first quarter to just 36-33.
But Washington could get no closer than that in the first half as Indiana closed the half on a 17-8 run to re-establish the lead at 55-43.
The Wizards fell behind in the first half mostly because they chose to stand outside against the Pacers and shoot jumpers rather than drive to the basket.
This resulted in Washington making just 19 of 47 shots in the first half, and it also led to plenty of fastbreak opportunities for the Pacers, who scored 26 points in that fashion compared with just three for the Wizards.
This passive style also resulted in the Pacers (12 of 14) getting to the free throw line with much greater regularity than the Wizards (one of two)

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide