WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (Ticker) --
Facing his floundering former team for the first time, Michael Jordan
wasn't about to let them off easy.
Jordan continued his scoring binge with 19 of his 29 points in the second quarter and reached 30,000 for his career as the Washington Wizards cruised to an 89-83 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
Jordan was selected third overall by the Bulls in 1984 and led them to six championships in eight years in the 1990s. Perhaps the greatest player of all time, he retired after the sixth title in 1998, when Phil Jackson resigned as coach.
That signaled the breakup of the Bulls, who have yet to recover. Jordan became minority owner and president of the Wizards two years ago and has made a spectacular return to the court this season, lifting his team into the playoff chase.
NBA.comTV highlights from Bulls-Wizards:
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Michael Jordan is averaging 41.7 ppg over his torrid three-game stretch.
Mitchell Layton /NBAE/Getty Images
"This is special in a sense that we're trying to claw our way out of the basement of losing teams," Jordan said. "If we have to step on other people to move up, then that's what we do. That's the importance of it more than anything.
"I like to think that we're moving in the right direction and Chicago may not be moving in the right direction, and I don't want to be compared with the m. I want to show some separation."
Jordan scored 51 and 45 points in his last two games, lifting his scoring average to 24.4 points, eighth in the league. He surpassed his average in the first half, when he joined the exclusive 30,000-point club.
"I definitely wasn't trying to start no more trouble," said Bulls guard Ron Mercer, who guarded Jordan for most of the game. "I thought he was liable to go for 70. ... But he only had 30, so ... we didn't say nothing to each other, not one word."
Needing 15 points at the outset, Jordan reached the plateau with a pair of free throws with 5:28 left in the second quarter. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Karl Malone
as the only NBA players to score 30,000 points.
"Thirty-thousand points is a lot," Jordan said. "That was more or less the highlight of the game, but anytime you can beat your former team, that's always a plus, too."
"Yeah, I guess he got some on other people like (Larry) Bird and everybody else, but it happened on me," said Chicago forward Ron Artest
, who fouled Jordan to put him at the line. "I fouled him and he got his 30,000. That's what I did not want tonight."
Jordan's second-quarter explosion gave the Wizards a 57-37 lead at halftime. The Bulls rallied in the second half, but a tired Jordan made sure they did not get too close.
In the final minute, Chicago cut the deficit to 87-81 and Mercer broke in for what appeared to be a layup. Trailing the play, Jordan soared and caught the shot in mid-air, pounding it against the backboard and barking at Mercer.
"I was (ticked)," said Jordan, who made 9-of-24 shots and had seven rebounds. "I wasn't getting any calls in the second half, basically, and it was just one of those situations where anger just kind of gave me a little bit more energy to go up and get a block."
The teams meet again on January 19 in Chicago, which should be much more interesting.
"I imagine it will be a little different in Chicago, playing in front of the fans that I've played in front of for years," Jordan said. "I'm pretty sure Chicago is going to be sitting there waiting for us because they gained some momentum and they feel they can beat us, but it's back home, so obviously it's going to be a little more emotional."
"I don't think they (people of Chicago) are going to like that one because they wanted us to win because they already feel like he betrayed us -- some people," Mercer said. "But we'll see them again on the 19th and we'll be able to get a victory there."
had 18 points and eight assists and Popeye Jones
had 10 and 12 rebounds for the Wizards, who have won 12 of their last 14 games.
Mercer scored 25 points, moving onto Jordan after Ron Artest
ran into foul trouble. Marcus Fizer
had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Charles Oakley
added 12 and 13 for the Bulls, who remained the NBA's only winless road team at 0-17.
"It's great to see a guy like that coming back at the age of 38. He is still able to do great things on the court," said Oakley, an old friend from Jordan's early days in Chicago. "He is one of the greatest players ever and I'm glad to see him do it."
Chicago fell to 2-2 under new coach Bill Cartwright.
Whitney scored eight points and Jordan and Jones six apiece in the first quarter as Washington bolted to a 32-18 lead.
In the second period, Jordan was 7-of-10 from the field and 5-of-5 from the line. His milestone foul shots began a personal run of six points that widened the advantage to 49-31 with 3:26 remaining.
"I just wanted to break the scoreboard," Artest said of the milestone moment. "That's all I wanted to do was break the scoreboard. Of course it was good for him, the greatest ever, not too many people have stopped him -- but I just didn't want him to get that 30,000 on me."
Jordan added six more points in the quarter as the Wizards took a 20-point lead to the locker room. Washington led by as many as 26 in the third quarter before settling for a 77-59 bulge heading into the final period.
"Horrible," Mercer said. "In the second half, I did better, but the first half was horrible. We had 20 fouls in the first half. I was fouling and on the bench and couldn't even do nothing to help the team."
The Wizards shot 44 percent (32-of-73) while holding the Bulls to 37.5 percent (33-of-88).