Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 12/16

Game 1: Sunday, December 16th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 5th
Game 3: Sunday, March 24th

Wizards 91

(32-38, 15-22 away)

Raptors 92

(32-38, 17-17 home)

    12:00 PM ET, March 24, 2002

    Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 21 18 25 2791
    TOR 24 23 19 2692

    Top Performers

    WSH: R. Hamilton 21 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Tor: M. Peterson 26 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    Jordan's Wizards lose precious ground in playoff race

    TORONTO (AP) -- Michael Jordan has never missed the playoffs in his career. But Jordan fears Washington's latest defeat might have cost the Wizards a chance at the postseason.

    Michael Jordan's last-minute play didn't help the Wizards.

    Jordan committed a costly turnover and missed a potential game-winning jumper at the buzzer as the Toronto Raptors beat the Wizards 92-91 Sunday behind 26 points from Morris Peterson.

    "It was a big game. I hope this game doesn't come back to haunt us when you talk about making the playoffs or not making the playoffs," Jordan said. "It could very well."

    Antonio Davis, who had 17 points, stole the ball from Jordan and made a layup to give Toronto a 92-91 lead with 15.7 seconds left.

    Jordan, guarded by Jerome Williams down the stretch, then missed an 18-foot jumper as time ran out, sealing the victory for the Raptors, who won their second consecutive since Vince Carter opted to undergo season-ending knee surgery. Toronto and Washington are tied for ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

    "If we don't make the playoffs then we were not as successful as we wanted to be," Jordan said. "We had a lot of opportunities. Even though you can say injuries had a big part to do with it, we still had a good shot to make the playoffs because of how weak the East is. Making the playoffs is a particular stat that I'd like to keep intact."

    Jordan, playing his third game since returning from knee surgery, had 14 points in 23 minutes off the bench.

    "Obviously, I don't feel like I'm mentally ready to able to test that knee as much I want to," Jordan said. "It's not really 100 percent. If they're giving me the jump shot I'll take the jump shot."

    Jordan's jumper gave Washington a five-point lead with 2:02 left, but Peterson made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two.

    Peterson had a chance to tie but he missed one of two free throws with 1:29 remaining.

    Jordan followed with a fadeaway jumper, giving Washington a 91-88 lead with 1:14 left, but Williams made a jumper to narrow the lead to one again.

    Jordan then missed a jumper.

    After Toronto's Alvin Williams missed a long jumper, Jordan grabbed the rebound, but Davis stole the ball and made a layup, giving Toronto a 92-91 lead.

    Jordan said he was fouled.

    "They let that go. They swallowed their whistles. It couldn't have been more obvious," Jordan said. "I felt like I had the ball. I had the rebound and I was whacked on the back of the head a couple of times."

    Jordan's jumper then rimmed in and out at the buzzer.

    "I had a good look. It went in and out," Jordan said. "I've made my share and I've missed my share."

    Peterson said his heart stopped when the shot rimmed in and out.

    "That was huge," Peterson said. "We knew he was going to get the ball. Credit Jerome for doing a good job on him."

    Peterson said Toronto still has a chance to make the playoffs.

    "It was a big win for us. These last two wins really can give us momentum down the stretch," he said.

    Jerome Williams added 13 points for the Raptors, who ended their nine-game home losing streak.

    Richard Hamilton led Washington with 21 points.

    "It was a huge loss," Washington's Popeye Jones said.

    With Jordan on the bench the Raptors took a 12-point lead in the third quarter after Davis hit consecutive jumpers.

    Jordan returned and Washington responded with a 13-0 run as Jordan made a fadeaway jumper and two free throws, and Tyrone Nesby scored six points.

    Peterson had 11 points and Jordan had six as Toronto led 47-39 at halftime. Jordan missed his first two shots of the game, but made consecutive jumpers early in the second quarter to pull Washington to one down.

    Toronto followed with an 11-2 run as Keon Clark made a hook shot, jumper and layup.

    Jerome Williams' 17-foot jumper gave Toronto a 13-point lead late in the period, but Brendan Haywood's jumper at the buzzer cut the lead to eight.

    Game notes

    Jordan rode a stationary bike before entering the game with 4:25 left in the first quarter. ... Toronto's Dell Curry left the game in the first quarter with back spasms. He did not return. ... Attendance was 19,800. The Raptors have sold out 33 games this season. ... The Raptors won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 31.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 92
    FGM-FGA 36-81 (.444) 32-77 (.416)
    3PM-3PA 3-10 (.300) 6-11 (.545)
    FTM-FTA 16-17 (.941) 22-28 (.786)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-39 16-42
    Assists 17 21
    Turnovers 18 21
    Steals 13 7
    Blocks 5 4
    Fast Break Points 10 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 16 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Richard Hamilton Hamilton
    Points: 21
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Morris Peterson Peterson
    Points: 26
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1