Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/21

Game 1: Saturday, December 21st
Game 2: Tuesday, December 31st

Spurs 103


Wizards 105

(14-17, 10-6 home)

    Coverage: KRRT

    8:00 PM ET, December 31, 2002

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 24 26 21 32103
    WSH 24 28 21 32105

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Duncan 35 Pts, 13 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 5 Blk

    WSH: J. Stackhouse 25 Pts, 3 Reb, 7 Ast, 3 Stl

    Wizards force 18 turnovers in victory

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- A bribe and a tired opponent combined to give the Washington Wizards a long overdue victory over a winning team.

    Jerry Stackhouse

    Jerry Stackhouse scored 25 points, and Larry Hughes had 22 as the Wizards ended an 0-7 run against teams with winning records by beating the San Antonio Spurs 105-103 Tuesday night.

    "The key motivational tool was at halftime,'' Washington coach Doug Collins said, "when I told them if we won tonight I'd give them tomorrow off. More so than money or anything else like that, that pushed it over the hump.''

    The Wizards had lost four of their last five. Since Dec. 4, they had lost all their games to teams currently with winning records, while going undefeated against teams below .500.

    "You're playing against a team that was tired,'' said Michael Jordan, who scored 17 points. "But we did put together a good four quarters. We have to build on it. We ended the year on a good note, and we have to start the year off on a good note.''

    San Antonio, at the end of a four-game road trip, committed 18 turnovers, including four in a row during in a late 7-0 run that produced the first double-digit lead of the game, 96-86, with two minutes left.

    The Spurs came back, but the Wizards held on thanks to a jumper by Christian Laettner with 1:08 remaining and a string of free throws in the final minute. The final score was as close as it was only because San Antonio's Steve Kerr hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

    Tim Duncan had a season-high 35 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks for the Spurs, but he also had seven turnovers. David Robinson had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

    The Spurs lost three of four on their road trip, all to losing teams. They lost by two to Atlanta, one to New York and two to Washington.

    "It's a tough thing to swallow right now,'' Duncan said. "But we're right at that edge where if one or two games could've gone down differently it's a whole 'nother road trip. We're going to stick with it, keep pushing, and hopefully we'll get those games where we're up one on the other team.''

    Even though both teams played -- and lost -- elsewhere the night before, the Spurs and Wizards put on an energized, fast-paced show before a festive New Year's Eve crowd.

    Jordan was especially pumped, trying out all his moves on San Antonio's Bruce Bowen. The best moment came when he dribbled downcourt and put on a stop-and-go move that left Bowen embarrassingly headed in the wrong direction, and gave Jordan an opening to make the shot.

    The score was tied 24-24 after the first quarter, and the Wizards led 52-50 at halftime and 73-71 after three. Neither team led by more than eight until the fourth quarter.

    For a second or two, it appeared Duncan was gone for good with 6:15 in the third quarter following a contentious exchange that resulted in the ejection of teammate Stephen Jackson. Even after the game, no one was sure exactly what had transpired.

    It started when Duncan elbowed Laettner in the face while being fouled by Hughes. A foul was called on Hughes, but Duncan said he was told he was getting a technical for the elbow and began an extended argument with the officials .

    Two technical fouls were called, and it was announced that both were on Duncan and that he was ejected. The officials then clarified the call, saying that one technical was on Duncan and another on Jackson for slapping the official. The slapping offense resulted in the ejection.

    "I thought he called a technical on Christian, then clarified he was calling it on me,'' Duncan said. "And then he threw Jack out. I still don't understand why he did that.''

    Game notes

    The Wizards are 4-0 on New Year's Eve since moving to the MCI Center in 1997. Their last home win over San Antonio came at the recently demolished US Airways Arena on Nov. 6, 1996. ... Washington coach Doug Collins said injured rookie guard Juan Dixon is "probably another week'' from returning to practice. Dixon is recovering from a hyperextended left elbow. ... Spurs forward Kevin Willis was suspended for the game without pay for fighting with Clarence Weatherspoon in the Spurs one-point loss at New York on Monday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 103 105
    FGM-FGA 36-82 (.439) 35-72 (.486)
    3PM-3PA 8-18 (.444) 2-8 (.250)
    FTM-FTA 23-29 (.793) 33-40 (.825)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-43 9-38
    Assists 22 18
    Turnovers 18 13
    Steals 7 8
    Blocks 9 5
    Fast Break Points 4 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (3/0) 22 (0/1)

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 35
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 5
    Jerry Stackhouse Stackhouse
    Points: 25
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0