- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 4, 2001

Not long after the visage of injured Allen Iverson's face flashed on the Jumbotron to a thunderous ovation, fans at MCI Center responded with a chant of "we've got Jordan!"
But the fans had it wrong. As Jordan made his debut at MCI Center as a member of the Washington Wizards last night, it was Richard Hamilton at whom the adulation should have been directed.
Hamilton led all scorers with 29 points, scoring 15 in the third quarter and getting all but six in the second half as the Wizards (2-1) humbled the winless (0-3) 76ers 90-76.
Just as they did in Atlanta on Thursday, when in the second half they outplayed a Hawks team many have earmarked for the playoffs, the Wizards dominated the final two quarters by outscoring the defending Eastern Conference champion Sixers 55-33 .
And this time it didn't even take the verbal prodding of Jordan following a horrible first half. Jordan lashed out at some players because he felt that they didn't play up to their capabilities in Atlanta.
"He didn't say anything this time, and he shouldn't have to," Hamilton said. "But we feed off of him. Last year the team fed off of me. This year I'm learning how to feed off of Michael."
For the Wizards, last night's home opener took on the look of a feeding frenzy that many different players had a role in. Although Jordan finished with 20 points, shooting 7-for-21 from the field, he also handed out a game-high nine assists. Popeye Jones pulled down 11 rebounds. Chris Whitney again shot well from the outside, finishing with 12 points and shooting 2-for-4 from behind the 3-point line.
Collectively the Wizards were 27 of 34 from free throw line, compared with the 76ers' 15 for 19. And the Wizards once again were very economical with their possessions, committing just nine turnovers.
Rookie guard Speedy Claxton led the 76ers with 22 points. Matt Harpring, who drew Jordan defensively, finished with 13. Center Dikembe Mutombo finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
"I think it was a game in which everybody contributed something. Everybody had something to contribute," Wizards coach Doug Collins said. "I think a guy like Christian Laettner had his best game of the season."
Hamilton almost single-handedly erased what had been a 48-35 Sixers lead with his sharp shooting in the third quarter.
In addition to the loss of league MVP Iverson, who missed his third game with an elbow injury, Philadelphia was without starting point guard Eric Snow and the league's top reserve, Aaron McKie. However, the Sixers opened the third quarter with five straight points, and the game was starting to look so ugly that even Jordan was being booed by the often-tepid MCI crowd of 20,674.
But Hamilton then found his offensive rhythm, and it seemed as if he was the player on whose energy the team was feeding. He scored the Wizards first six points of the quarter and 11 in a 13-0 run that pulled Washington within 50-48 with 6:19 left in the third quarter.
Washington quickly went ahead to stay 53-52 when Jordan sank a free throw with 4:41 left in the quarter.
The Wizards continued to dominate the 76ers in the fourth quarter, taking a 79-58 lead on a Jordan jumper with 5:54 left.
"I think we played with an energy in the second half," Jordan said. "Rip got hot. I wasn't, but I knew that there were other things I can do. When you're not shooting the ball well, you have to be able to pass the ball, get rebounds and do other things. I think our guys are learning that. That's part of the process."


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