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Role reversal sparks Wizards

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 4, 2002

WASHINGTON -- In their latest episode of trading spaces, Michael Jordan and Bryon Russell helped the Wizards end their six-game losing streak.

Jordan scored 25 in his second game as a starter, and the man he replaced, Russell, matched his season high with 16 points in a 103-78 rout of the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

Etan Thomas matched a career high with 14 points and had seven rebounds for the Wizards, who used their bench extensively. Jordan played 30 minutes in the one-sided game and sat for good early in the fourth quarter.

Tim Thomas scored a season-high 17 for the Bucks, who played without Ray Allen and Toni Kukoc. Milwaukee, one of the best shooting teams in the league, shot 37 percent. Michael Redd was 6-for-16 from the field, Sam Cassell was 3-for-12, Anthony Mason was 2-for-7 and Jason Caffey was 1-for-8.

Last week, Russell asked to be removed from the starting lineup because his minutes were getting squeezed by Jordan's early entry off the bench. With their roles reserved, both looked more comfortable, and they teamed for the run that gave the Wizards the lead for good.

Jordan and Russell scored 27 consecutive Wizards points from the final minute of the first quarter through the first seven minutes of the second, including all the points in a 16-5 run that put Washington ahead 42-29.

NETS 87, HAWKS 72: Richard Jefferson bounced back from a big blunder with 22 points and a career-high 14 rebounds to lead banged-up New Jersey.

The host Nets won for the second in five games, with one of those losses largely Jefferson's fault. He missed two free throws with New Jersey up by two with 9.8 seconds left in Seattle on Sunday. Brent Barry then hit a winning 3-pointer.

Nets center Dikembe Mutombo is scheduled for surgery Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist, sidelining him for at least two months.

LAKERS 101, GRIZZLIES 91: Kobe Bryant had 24 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his fourth triple double of the season as host Los Angeles struggled to a victory.

Shaquille O'Neal added 28 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks for the Lakers, 4-3 since O'Neal returned.

ROCKETS 89, SPURS 75: Yao Ming had 27 points, a season-high 18 rebounds and a crowd-pleasing slam in the closing minutes to lead host Houston.

After leading much of the game, the Rockets trailed 64-61 going into the fourth. They quickly regained the lead and won going away as San Antonio went scoreless over the final 2:43.

KINGS 98, WOLVES 86: Bobby Jackson scored 24 and Chris Webber had 22 points and 11 rebounds as host Sacramento overcame Kevin Garnett's second big game against them in seven days. Garnett had 18 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists, barely missing his ninth career triple double.

HORNETS 115, BULLS 90: David Wesley scored a season-high 25 and Jamal Mashburn added 21 as New Orleans found a cure for its road woes. The Hornets are 9-0 at home but 3-6 on the road. They did it without Baron Davis, who missed his second straight game because of back spasms.

WARRIORS 110, NUGGETS 89: Antawn Jamison scored 29 as host Golden State opened with a 9-2 run and never trailed en route to its third win in a row.

PATTERSON AVOIDS CHARGES: Felony domestic abuse charges won't be filed against Trail Blazers forward Ruben Patterson after his wife asked prosecutors to drop the case. Patterson was arrested at his home Nov. 25 after his wife, Shannon, called 911 and reported that her husband had assaulted her.

CAVS: Coach John Lucas called his two-game suspension of leading scorer Ricky Davis "a necessary evil" and part of the young team's growing process. Lucas suspended Davis for yelling at teammate Tyrone Hill during the third quarter Friday against Philadelphia.

NUGGETS: Forward Chris Andersen was placed on the injured list with a broken right thumb. Rookie Vincent Yarbrough was activated.

76ERS: Forward Monty Williams was activated and Efthimios Rentzias was placed on the injured list with a lower back strain.

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