- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 17, 2002

SEATTLE No matter how bad things may seem, Doug Collins frequently cites the great spirit in the Washington Wizards' locker room. The coach knows that performances like the one Tyronn Lue gave Friday night do wonders to help matters.
Lue played perfectly in the fourth quarter in almost single-handedly leading the Wizards' come-from-behind 103-98 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics. The reserve guard scored a career-high 26 points with five 3-pointers and helped Washington snap a five-game losing streak.
Lue made two free throws with 51.2 seconds left after controlling a critical jump ball. He had 11 points in the fourth quarter making all of his field goal attempts and also had six assists and three rebounds before fouling out. He went 5-for-5 on 3-pointers, shot nine of 13 overall from the floor and made all three of his free throws.
Sonics coach Nate McMillan called them "Jordan-type numbers."
"He was awesome," Collins said. "[He played] 32 minutes, and I don't think he had one turnover."
Lue didn't.
"He couldn't miss a shot tonight," Seattle's Desmond Mason said.
Brent Barry matched his career-high with 31 points and Gary Payton added 29 points and nine assists for the Sonics, who lost for the third time in five days. Seattle had won four straight at home.
Washington has won only three times in 10 games since Jordan had knee surgery Feb.27, but the team remains in playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. Jordan is expected to be out at least another two weeks.
"They have learned how to win without one key guy," Barry said.
Lue hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the final period and another with four minutes left that pulled Washington to 91-90.
"I got going pretty early," Lue said. "I got good looks at the basket, so I just started taking them and got into a good rhythm."
Christian Laettner scored with 1:43 left to give the Wizards their first lead of the quarter, and they kept it. He finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, and Richard Hamilton added 25 points. The Wizards held a 41-35 rebounding edge.
Mason added 17 points and nine rebounds for Seattle.
The Sonics lost two more players to injuries. Forward Rashard Lewis, the team's second-leading scorer at 17.0, strained his left shoulder just before halftime in a collision with teammate Jerome James and did not return. Lewis had four points and two assists in 19 minutes.
He will undergo an MRI in Seattle while the team travels to Los Angeles to play the Clippers. Center Predrag Drobnjak left late in the third quarter with a bruised left knee.
Seattle already was short-handed without forwards Vladimir Radmanovic (sprained big toe) and Vin Baker (dislocated toes), guard Earl Watson (separated left shoulder) and center Calvin Booth (ankle).
"I don't know what's going on," Barry said. "All the injuries for us are coming at once."


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