WASHINGTON (AP) -- The boxscore will show that Michael Jordan
scored a career-low two points in a career-low 12 minutes, and
that's not the worst of it.
Jordan also had a career-low zero impact in a game in which he
played. He was an inconsequential reserve on the losing side of a
rout as the Los Angeles Lakers overwhelmed his Washington Wizards
113-93 Tuesday night.
"I'm disappointed we didn't make a game of it," Jordan said.
"In terms of my minutes or my points, I'm not worried about that.
I'm not chasing anything. I'm not chasing any stats. Yes, it's a
career-low in minutes. It didn't make a difference."
Jordan, struggling to regain his fitness in his seventh game
since the surgery on his right knee, entered the game late in the
first quarter, was 1-for-5 with three assists and three turnovers
and did not play in the second half. There wasn't much need: The
game essentially was over by the end of the first quarter, and the
Wizards play at Milwaukee on Wednesday in the second of four games
in five nights.
"I talked to Michael at halftime," coach Doug Collins said.
"And I said, `Michael, we'll see how the third quarter goes, and
if it looks like we're back into it, then you'll play. If not,
we're going to get ready to play the rest of the week.' And, he was
in agreement with that."
Jordan scored fewer than 10 points for the fifth time this
season. He scored in single figures only once in his entire 13-year
career with the Chicago Bulls. His previous low point total was six
in Washington's 108-81 loss at Indiana on Dec. 27.
"It looked to me he was not strong on that leg," said Lakers
coach Phil Jackson, who won six titles with Jordan in Chicago, "or
as strong as he'd like to be."
Shaquille O'Neal had 22 points and tied a season-high with 18
rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored all 14 of his points in the first
half, and Derek Fisher and Rick Fox had 15 apiece for the Lakers.
Los Angeles, starting a four-game road trip, remained 1 1/2 games
behind first-place Sacramento in the Western Conference. The Kings
beat Memphis 107-83.
None of the Lakers starters played more than 33 minutes, leaving
everyone with fresher legs for Wednesday night's game against East
leader New Jersey.
"We didn't want to be messing around with this team," O'Neal
said. "In the past, we had struggles winning in this building, and
we wanted to take it to them right away."
Playoff hopes are fading fast for the Wizards, although they
remained 2 1/2 games behind eighth-place Indiana in the East. The
Pacers lost to Boston 105-94.
Richard Hamilton scored 21 points to lead the Wizards. The 113
points was the most allowed by Washington this season.
Jordan entered the game with 3:17 remaining in the first quarter
and never got in the flow of the offense, except for a possession
or two when he played point guard in the second quarter.
The Wizards had one good spurt, when Christian Laettner scored
eight points in a 13-0 run to give Washington a 15-10 lead. The
Lakers responded with a 17-2 run -- with Fox, Fisher and Bryant each
contributing at least two baskets -- and the game was over.
Bryant had a variety pack of three breakaway dunks in the first
half, each one with a different style. The best was a flying
one-handed jam after he stole the ball from Hamilton.
The lead was 37-24 after the first quarter and 66-49 at
halftime. Bryant had 14 points in the half and O'Neal had 13
rebounds to compensate for his 3-for-10 shooting.
The Wizards never got closer than 14 in the second half. Jordan
sat pensively at the far end of the bench and never got up to ride
his exercise bicycle in the tunnel, his usual warm-up routine
before entering a game.
"We were overwhelmed by a great team," Collins said. "This
team is priming itself to three-peat, and they look awfully darn
good. We just couldn't match their firepower. They beat us in every
Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter, who led Maryland to the NCAA
championship in Atlanta the previous night, attended the game and
received a huge standing ovation in the first quarter. O'Neal
wasn't impressed, however. Asked if Dixon had the talent to play in
the NBA, O'Neal had no idea who Dixon was. "I don't watch
basketball," O'Neal said. "I'm not a fan of basketball." ...
Wizards forward Popeye Jones missed the game with back spasms. ...
Wizards rookie center Kwame Brown, the No. 1 overall draft pick,
had a career-high 14 points.