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Motivated Wizards take it out on Magic

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 12, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Tracy McGrady scored 43 in what was probably his final game against Michael Jordan.

The victory, however, went to Jordan, whose criticism of teammates seemed to motivate them.

After losing three of four by a combined seven points, the suddenly serious Wizards got 31 points from Jerry Stackhouse, 23 from Jordan and double figures from all five starters in Tuesday night's 106-105 victory over the Magic.

Jordan ripped young teammates for not matching his 40-year-old desire and effort after losses Friday and Sunday that put the Wizards in deep trouble in the playoff chase in Jordan's final season.

"Someone needed to say it, and I said it," Jordan said. "Today the effort was a lot better, and the end result shows that."

Jordan said he did not regret making his criticisms public.

"The truth hurts. It would be just the opposite for us to sugarcoat it," Jordan said. "We play publicly."

Stackhouse also had complained about his role in the offense, and owner Abe Pollin stepped in and addressed the team Tuesday morning. All that turmoil set the stage for a thrilling Jordan-McGrady finale.

"We felt coming in tonight like we were coming into the lion's den," Orlando coach Doc Rivers. "We knew they were angry."

Said Stackhouse: "The motive was to try to inspire the play, and the motive worked. Everybody came out and played inspired."

Jordan matched his career high with nine turnovers, but he made 10 of 18 shots, including a driving layup for Washington's final field goal to put the Wizards up by three with 25 seconds remaining.

But no one could touch McGrady, who made 16 of 26 shots and seemed to score at will. McGrady did his best to catch up in the waning moments, making two long 3-pointers in the final six seconds. But Stackhouse's 6-for-6 free-throw shooting in the final minute kept the Wizards lead safe.

BULLS 116, LAKERS 99: Jamal Crawford scored a career-high 24 with 10 assists, and Eddy Curry added 20 points and six rebounds for host Chicago. Jalen Rose added 27, Donyell Marshall had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Tyson Chandler had 12 rebounds for the Bulls, who have beaten the Lakers in three of their past four meetings. Kobe Bryant had 36 and Rick Fox scored a season-high 23, but they didn't get much help. Shaquille O'Neal was held to 13 points and 10 rebounds as the Lakers were outrebounded 45-38.

HORNETS 81, PACERS 71: Baron Davis scored 20 in his first game in more than six weeks and visiting New Orleans extended its winning streak to nine. The Hornets avoided a four-game season sweep by Indiana and gained a game on the Pacers in the Central Division. The Hornets have not lost since Feb. 18, pushing them into contention for first place in the East.

HEAT 77, CAVALIERS 75: Mike James made two free throws with 0.4 seconds left and visiting Miami snapped a four-game losing streak despite scoring 10 in the fourth quarter. James hit his free throws after being fouled by Cavs guard Ricky Davis, who got faked into the air and fouled James as the Heat guard was attempting a 3-pointer. James intentionally missed his third attempt, and the final horn sounded before the Cavs could get off a shot. Cleveland lost its seventh straight and 13th in 14 games.

GRIZZLIES 87, KNICKS 85: Jason Williams scored 15 and hit the winning shot with 1.4 seconds left to lift visiting Memphis. With it tied at 85, Williams missed a jumper with 19.7 seconds left, but got the rebound. Williams shook Howard Eisley and hit an offbalance jumper to win it. Allan Houston missed a 3-pointer as time expired. Stromile Swift had his fourth double double in a row with 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have won four in a row.

SPURS 105, BUCKS 102: Malik Rose scored a career-high 34, including 10 in the fourth quarter, and Tim Duncan added 25, including four free throws to seal it for visiting San Antonio. Duncan had 15 rebounds and Tony Parker had 13 points for the Spurs. San Antonio has won 15 of 17.

BLAZERS 92, SONICS 77: Rasheed Wallace scored 23, Derek Anderson had 18 and reserve Zach Randolph scored nine of his 17 in the fourth for visiting Portland. The Blazers didn't have their second-leading scorer, Bonzi Wells, who was suspended for one game after an undisclosed episode at the team's practice Monday. But he wasn't missed as the Blazers completed a season sweep of the Sonics. Kevin Ollie led the Sonics with 15 points.

WARRIORS 113, SUNS 98: Antawn Jamison scored 23 and had 11 rebounds, and Adonal Foyle scored 16 and had 20 rebounds for host Golden State.

NUGGETS 95, RAPTORS 87: Juwan Howard had 24 points and 11 rebounds as Denver snapped a seven-game home losing streak. Vince Carter led Toronto with 21 points.

PISTONS: Forward Clifford Robinson signed a contract extension through the 2004-05 season. The guaranteed $9-million deal includes a team option for a third year worth about $5-million, the Associated Press reported.

76ERS: Allen Iverson and Larry Brown were fined $7,500 each by the league for criticizing referee Derrick Stafford after a loss to the Lakers on Sunday.

AGE-LIMIT RUMORS: The director of the players union vehemently denied having any kind of a handshake agreement with the league to set an age limit of 20 in the next collective bargaining agreement. "There have been no deals struck between David (Stern) and myself, and there has been no discussion of an age limit between David and myself," union director Billy Hunter said. Hunter was compelled to address the belief an age limit could be in place for the 2004 draft because the misconception could lead to a large number of high school players and 17- and 18-year-old foreigners making themselves eligible for the this year's draft.

WILLIAMS TRIAL: Jayson Williams will go to trial under a new manslaughter indictment, meaning the former NBA star could face a tougher prison sentence if convicted. A judge has dismissed the original indictment, and the new indictment was handed up last week. Williams will be arraigned March 20.

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