- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2002

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. Michael Jordan was rusty and Washington Wizards were rough. The Detroit Pistons were not.

Jordan missed seven of his first eight shots and scored 14 points as Detroit beat him and the Washington Wizards 86-66 to finish the exhibition season undefeated for the first time.

"I felt good, I'm just gradually getting my timing and rhythm back," Jordan said. "Unfortunately, we as a team didn't look that good."

The Pistons (8-0) were led by Richard Hamilton, who scored 15 points against his former team.

"I'm obviously pleased with the preseason," Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "I had no idea we would go 8-0, but these guys played at a high level through the whole thing. That's great, but it guarantees nothing a week from tonight."

Jerry Stackhouse, whom Washington acquired for Hamilton as part of a six-player deal last month, scored 11 points after being welcomed with a standing ovation at The Palace.

"It was great, the reaction from the fans," Stackhouse said. "But right now, my focus is on the guys in this locker room. This was a big blow to us because that was the best team we've played and we didn't do the things we've been doing."

Jordan played 23 minutes and was five of 14 from the field with six rebounds, an assist, a steal and three turnovers. He was in a reserve role, as he is expected to be this season for the Wizards (5-2.)

Detroit opens the season Oct. 30 at home against New York. The Wizards' final preseason game is tomorrow at Boston, where Jordan plans to play, before opening on the 30th at Toronto.

Jordan made an effort to get into the groove in the third quarter, and he did. He scored eight points on three straight mid-range jumpers and two free throws in a span of 2:28.

"That's one of the reasons I decided to play," Jordan said. "I'd hate to think this was Toronto, and I hadn't played and my rhythm wasn't there. That was a smart thing between Doug [Collins] and myself to get me out there and get me into some game rhythm. In the second half, I finally found a better rhythm. I like to think it's coming."

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