- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 14, 2001

MIAMI After watching the first quarter of the Washington Wizards' preseason game against the injury-depleted Miami Heat, Michael Jordan and coach Doug Collins looked as if they knew exactly what they were talking about.
Both have maintained that Jordan really didn't need to play in the first two preseason games because they know what Jordan, at 38, will be capable of on some nights. And last night it was brilliance.
Jordan needed just 11 minutes to score 18 points in the first quarter as the Wizards led from start to finish in a 99-79 victory over the Miami Heat before 16,500 at American Airlines Arena.
"A lot of things have been said that can feed my motivation," Jordan said. "I think after the first game, people were jumping ahead of themselves saying I don't look like I should. Well, a lot of people don't look like they should in the first preseason game. How you start the season is what you can be judged upon. A lot of those comments were preliminary comments. I look for fuel any way I can get it."
That fuel began burning when Detroit journeyman Corliss Williams said that Jordan's legs looked a little heavy following the Pistons' victory over the Wizards.
Heat coach Pat Riley, much more qualified to speak on where Jordan is than Williams, did not give Jordan anything that could be used against his team in the future.
"He looked great," Riley said of Jordan, who also had three rebounds and two steals. "While he was in there, he looked every bit like Michael Jordan."
Jordan, who left the game for good with 10:12 to go in the second quarter, made his first three shots, and at one point was 6-for-7 from the field. Jordan did most of his damage from the shooting guard position, and there were clear indications that he felt at home again. The tongue was wagging and Jordan, one of the most renowned trash talkers in the league, struck up an ongoing dialogue with some Heat fans seated in the expensive seats.
Jordan's play set the tone for the Wizards, who dominated even when he was out of the game. They built their lead to 24 points in the third quarter and shot the ball well (47 percent). They also held the Heat to just 38 percent shooting from the floor while outrebounding them 46-41.
"It was a good effort, a nice effort," said Collins. "Michael really jump-started us. He got off to a great start and gave our young guys a lot of confidence."
Richard Hamilton continued to play well, finishing with 18 points in 30 minutes. Courtney Alexander also scored 18 points. Reserve forward Sam Mack led the Heat with 18 points. Former Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning, severely slowed last season by a mysterious kidney condition, looked good on his way to 15 points and five rebounds.
Collins is using the preseason to learn many things, and one of them is which players he can use on the floor in combination. Last night he had two new starters in the lineup, Etan Thomas at center and Tyrone Nesby at small forward.
For the rest of the preseason, developing confidence in some of the younger players is at the top of the Wizards' list, and last night there were some promising moments.
Rookie forward Kwame Brown, jittery and indecisive in his debut against Detroit, played with significantly more poise and determination while finishing with eight points and four rebounds. Twice he slam-dunked with authority, and at the defensive end he changed at least four shots.
Nesby also provided a spark with 10 points and six rebounds.
Rookie center Brendan Haywood led the Wizards with eight rebounds. It was not however, a good game for Thomas, the second-year center who came over from Dallas in the Juwan Howard trade. He was 0-for-3 from the field and picked up four fouls in 17 minutes.
The Wizards were playing their second game without free-agent acquisition Tyronn Lue, who has a bruised right quadriceps. Jahidi White joined Lue in street clothes with tendinitis in both knees. Popeye Jones and Hubert Davis, though not injured, did not play in order to get more time for the younger players.

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