- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 14, 2002

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Washington Wizards thought they had reached the low point of their season Tuesday when they were smashed by the Portland Trail Blazers.
As it turns out, that wasnt even their low point of the week.
Facing a New Jersey Nets team playing without two starters, the Wizards had the worst offensive outing in the franchises 42-season history in losing 79-65 to the Nets last night at Continental Airlines Arena.
Before last night, the lowest point total was 66 points against Chicago on Jan. 5, 2000.It was so bad that the Nets also were able to post a record - the 65 points were the fewest they had allowed in franchise history - on a night when they seemed disinterested and shot just 39 percent from the floor.
The Wizards were dismayed after they were beaten 98-79 by the Blazers at home Tuesday, when they couldnt stop Portland from driving down the middle, dunking and getting layups. The game left them wondering if they had an identity.
Against the Nets, they left many wondering if they had any hope.
After the game - a game in which they scored just 28 points in the first half - there were plenty of new questions and seemingly no answers."Offensively, we just didnt have any rhythm," said Michael Jordan, who finished with 12 points but was 5-for-20 from the field. "You have to give New Jersey some credit. But when you have no rhythm, its tough to get shots in rhythm. Right now we have none."
Seemingly, the only Wizard in sync is Larry Hughes, who had his fifth straight double-double in posting 19 points and 10 rebounds.
But Hughes was by himself on this night as far as contributing players. Jerry Stackhouse was 5-for-18 for 14 points and didnt play in the fourth quarter.
The Wizards committed 22 turnovers for the night, just four less than their number of field goals.
"You can always point to things that dont go well," Stackhouse said. "The ball didnt move as crisply as we would like, and we didnt get into good sets. The Nets took us out of a lot of our sets, and we were unable to get good shots and good pressure. A lot of it was us but a lot of them playing good defense as well."
Richard Jefferson led the Nets with 24 points. Jason Kidd finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
The victory improved New Jerseys record to 15-8, 12-1 at home. Washington fell to 9-13.For most of the night the Wizards looked as bad as they have at any time in the last few years.
Nonetheless, with seven unanswered points to start the fourth quarter, the Wizards trailed by just 57-55.
However, when the Nets got Kidd back in the game, their lead quickly jumped back to 10 points after Jeffersons 18-footer.
In a game in which players twice had to be separated, the Nets took advantage of a flagrant foul on Hughes, who knocked Lucious Harris to the ground to stop a sure fastbreak layup - a mistake that gave Harris two free throws (he made both) and the Nets the ball.
On the following possession, Kidd put the Wizards away with a layup that expanded the lead to 72-63 with 2:35 left.
"These are the types of games you can steal," Wizards coach Doug Collins said. "But we are not moving the ball. Until we start doing that, we will not win. When we move the ball we are a good team. When we dont, we cannot beat anyone."

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