- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 20, 2002

GREENSBORO, N.C. Courtney Alexander gave the Washington Wizards a glimpse last night of the shooting guard they gave up in the offseason. Jerry Stackhouse showed why he's the shooting guard the Wizards will rely on this season.
Stackhouse scored 32 points in the game's first three quarters before sitting out the fourth. Alexander, traded to New Orleans for a draft pick in the offseason, scored 11 of 21 points in the fourth quarter, including several crucial late ones, as the Hornets handed the Wizards their first loss of the preseason 99-92 before 13,076 at Greensboro Coliseum.
Stackhouse, from nearby Kinston, N.C., put on a scoring clinic last night for the second time in three games, getting 19 points in the third quarter. Playing in front of about 50 family and friends, including his parents, the former University of North Carolina star punctuated the period with an acrobatic, highlight-show caliber play on a lob from Tyronn Lue.
"I was feeling it a little bit it's great to get in a rhythm like that," Stackhouse said. "I haven't only been feeling it in the games, but in the practices, too. This isn't the right time, but hopefully it will keep going."
The Wizards (4-1) again faced a depleted Hornets team with Baron Davis, Elden Campbell, P.J. Brown and Jamal Mashburn among the regulars missing the game. Alexander started after missing Thursday's game with a hip injury.
Asked if it was satisfying to beat the Wizards, Alexander replied, "Of course. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't."
The Wizards missed their chance to go 5-0 in the preseason for the first time in franchise history. Their best previous start was in 1985, when they also won their first four.
The Wizards reached the midpoint of a seven-game, 12-day road trip last night longer than any stretch they have during the regular season. Coach Doug Collins said in the next game, tomorrow night in Denver, he's going to seriously begin looking at his playing rotation, which he wants to keep at about nine players. He got that process going last night by using what could be his starting lineup when the regular season opens Oct.30 to open both halves: Stackhouse, Larry Hughes, Bryon Russell, Kwame Brown and Brendan Haywood.
Stackhouse scored eight of the Wizards' first 13 points, finished with 10 in the first quarter and assisted on four more baskets. While Alexander did most of his damage with his jump shot on which he still gets incredible elevation Stackhouse penetrated his way to scoring opportunities and went right at Alexander.
The Wizards got the final jab in of the first quarter when Hughes stripped Alexander and tossed a pass ahead to Stackhouse, who scored an easy basket for a 26-21 lead.
With less than four seconds left in the third quarter, Stackhouse punctuated his 19-point spree by jumping, catching a pass from Lue with one hand and, still in the air, banking it through the hoop for his 31st and 32nd points of the night. Stackhouse had 31 points in his last game in North Carolina, the Wizards' victory over Denver on Tuesday in Fayetteville.
It was Alexander's turn to get hot in the fourth with a clutch jumper that put the Hornets up 96-92 with 1:12 to go. Collins was disappointed that the Wizards struggled after having an 87-82 lead with 4:27 to go. He also didn't like that the Wizards were outrebounded 46-37 against a Hornets frontcourt without all its pieces.
"We had a five- or six-point lead and we just died," Collins said. "They hit us with a spurt and we could never counter it. They upped their defensive pressure, and we took some tough shots."
Haywood, who attended nearby Dudley High School, received a key to the city of Greensboro and had his jersey placed in the Greensboro Sports Hall of Fame. In a humorous twist, Haywood was issued a technical foul just 50 seconds into the third quarter for retaliating after getting elbowed by Jamaal Magloire. Stackhouse received a technical just six seconds later. Chris Whitney remained out of action with a hip flexor injury, though he did some shooting yesterday. Christian Laettner played two minutes and did not score.

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