GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Oct. 18 (AP) -- Michael Jordan's comeback took another step Thursday.


Etan Thomas tries to drop the hook over the extended arm of Ben Wallace.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE Photos
No, he didn't soar through the air for his first dunk since 1998.

But he played 32 minutes -- three more than his first two games combined -- and scored 24 points, grabbed six rebounds and had an assist as his Washington Wizards lost 114-88 to the Detroit Pistons in a preseason game Thursday night.

A sold-out crowd of 11,639 at Van Andel Arena was pleased that Jordan decided to play despite straining his left foot Saturday at Miami.

"It felt good for me to go those extra minutes," Jordan said. "Those extra minutes and the four preseason games we're going to play in five nights next week will be another test."

Detroit's Jerry Stackhouse scored a game-high 36 points. The Pistons outscored the Wizards 31-10 in the final quarter.

Jordan was 7-of-20 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free throw line in his third exhibition game since returning from a three-year layoff.

The five-time regular-season MVP and six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls didn't look as spectacular as he did when he scored 18 first-quarter points against the Heat. Rather, he looked like a player still trying to shake off some rust.

However, Detroit coach Rick Carlisle was impressed after watching the Wizards-Heat game on tape.

"I thought he played better than he did in that game," Carlisle said. "He looked more comfortable out there ... I knew he was going to be great and he's great."

Jordan made a few crafty cuts to the basket -- with and without the ball -- but was unable to finish several layups, both of the standard and reverse variety.

"I don't doubt that those type of situations will be completed once the season starts," Jordan said. "I'm getting there. I'm getting my legs back. You guys are anxious for me to dunk the ball."

His shooting touch away from the lane was also inconsistent, as the 13 missed shots showed.

However, Jordan was able to get to the free throw line early and often by drawing fouls in the post and on the perimeter.

Michael Curry, who picked up four fouls guarding Jordan, doesn't think Jordan was getting special treatment from the officials, although he complained after each call.

"I don't focus on fouls like that," Curry said.

On defense, Jordan looked savvy at times by getting into the passing lane and knocking a pass out of bounds as he did 39 seconds into the game.

He looked vulnerable during other sequences, however, picking up three first-half fouls and five in the game. Curry, never known for his offensive skills, scored easily on Jordan with a drop-step move a few minutes into the game.

Since Jordan is playing small forward, instead of shooting guard, he will be in a position to get a lot of rebounds as he did Thursday with six on the defensive end.

Jordan said he will have to adjust his playing style with the position switch.

"I'm going to have to use my quickness," he said, "because some of those guys are stronger than me."

Jordan was only able to practice on Wednesday after hurting his foot on Saturday.

"It's going to be important for Michael to practice with us," Washington coach Doug Collins said.

The Wizards' next game is Saturday against New Jersey, their only preseason game at MCI Center.