Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 2/12

Game 1: Wednesday, February 12th
Game 2: Wednesday, March 5th

Clippers 80

(19-41, 8-20 away)

Wizards 99

(30-31, 21-12 home)

    7:00 PM ET, March 5, 2003

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAC 24 19 8 2980
    WSH 26 27 26 2099

    Top Performers

    LAC: S. Rooks 10 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    WSH: C. Laettner 10 Pts, 13 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Jordan scores 10 points and pulls down nine rebounds

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Before the game, Michael Jordan was warned that his back spasms had a good chance of recurring if he played.

     Michael Jordan

    "Is it life-threatening?" Jordan asked.

    "No," the team doctor said.

    "Then I'm going to play," Jordan said.

    Just 24 hours after injuring his back, Jordan played 24 minutes and had 10 points and nine rebounds in the Washington Wizards' 99-80 rout of the sloppy Los Angeles Clippers.

    "I wanted to get out there," Jordan said. "I had a lot of people telling me not to, because they felt like it would damage long-term value. I said 'I don't have long-term value.'"

    Perhaps Washington really didn't need Jordan against a Clippers team that looked disorganized in losing its seventh straight. But he couldn't take the chance because the Wizards had already dropped games to Miami and Toronto this week.

    The victory tied the Wizards with Milwaukee for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

    "That had a lot to do with it," Jordan said. "We can't lose another game to a team we're capable of beating. ... Sometimes it's just good to have a big brother around, just for support. That's why I wanted to play."

    Moving gingerly and grimacing at times, Jordan shot just 4-of-14 but played steady defense against Quentin Richardson. Jordan sat for good with 3:05 remaining in the third quarter and the Wizards leading 68-49.

    "In terms of limiting what I could do, this is probably the worst I've had in a while," Jordan said. "I was basic. I took a shot when I was open. I swear I don't think I jumped a foot off the ground to get a rebound. I just boxed out and the ball came to me."

    Jerry Stackhouse and Larry Hughes had 20 points apiece for the Wizards. Christian Laettner had 10 points and 13 rebounds, his third double-double in four games.

    Corey Maggette scored 14 for the Clippers, who are 0-2 under new coach Dennis Johnson. Los Angeles was hampered by poor shot selection and big deficits in rebounding (52-37) and free-throw attempts (40-24).

    The Clippers face a long road to recovery: This was the first game in a six-game East Coast trip.

    Los Angeles was at its worst in the third quarter when it was outscored 26-8.

    "We were bad in the third quarter and there's really no excuse,'' guard Eric Piatkowski said. "We had some good shots, but we just didn't knock anything down. Once they got that lead, their confidence level got high and it was over."

    Jordan's back flared up in the second quarter of Tuesday night's loss to the Raptors. He left the game, and the Wizards blew their lead and lost 89-86. He has not missed a game this season.

    A day of rest, massage and electrolysis got Jordan ready to play. He did not attend the morning shootaround, and trainer Steve Stricker went to Jordan's hotel in the afternoon and applied electrical stimulation to try to break up the spasms.

    "If Michael wants to play, Michael is going to play," coach Doug Collins said. "Who is going to tell Michael Jordan that when he wants to play a basketball game -- 'No, you can't play.'"

    The 40-year-old Jordan, also recovering from a deep right thigh bruise, committed the game's first turnover and first foul, then made two quick jumpers. He showed some quickness by driving past Richardson, although he missed the layup. He left for the locker room in the final minute to get a head start on halftime treatment.

    The game was tied eight times in the first quarter, but a 24-12 first-half free-throw discrepancy helped the Wizards to a 53-43 lead at the break. Brendan Haywood was 9-for-11 from the line in the half and had 13 points.

    The third quarter opened with a 12-2 Wizards run. Hughes, in his second game after missing six with a sprained ankle, scored eight of the points with two jumpers and two layups.

    Sean Rooks' offensive rebound and layup were Los Angeles' only points in the first six minutes of the second half. The Clippers shot 4-for-21 in the third quarter and trailed 79-51 going into the fourth.

    Game notes
    Clippers F Lamar Odom missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. ... The eight third-quarter points were the fewest allowed in a quarter this season by the Wizards, and tied for fewest scored by the Clippers. ... Clippers reserve Chris Wilcox fouled out in only 16 minutes. ... Wizards center Jahidi White played for the first time this season, entering the game in garbage time in the fourth quarter. White, who has been recovering from knee surgery since late last summer, scored four points.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 80 99
    FGM-FGA 31-80 (.388) 33-74 (.446)
    3PM-3PA 1-12 (.083) 0-2 (.000)
    FTM-FTA 17-24 (.708) 33-40 (.825)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-37 16-52
    Assists 12 19
    Turnovers 14 16
    Steals 10 6
    Blocks 3 2
    Fast Break Points 4 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 20 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Sean Rooks Rooks
    Points: 10
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Christian Laettner Laettner
    Points: 10
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0