WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (Ticker) --
After Michael Jordan
finally missed, the Houston Rockets missed a golden opportunity.
NBA TV highlights from|
Jordan scored 10 of his 35 points in overtime and the Washington Wizards survived a botched final possession by the Rockets and held on for a 100-98 victory.
Questionable with a bruised right thigh, Jordan had a terrific all-around game. In 50 minutes, the 40-year-old superstar made 15-of-26 shots and collected 11 rebounds and six assists.
"(I'm) tired and a little sore right now," Jordan said. "Obviously, 50 minutes takes its toll on you, but it's a lot
better with a win than a loss."
"I don't know how many guys would have played with what Michael had tonight," Wizards coach Doug Collins said. "When I saw it this morning, it was totally puffed up, but he played 50 minutes."
Jordan made his first five shots of the extra session. But with the Wizards clinging to a two-point lead, he missed a 15-footer from the right side that was rebounded by Rockets rookie Yao Ming with about five seconds to go.
Instead of calling timeout, Yao threw an outlet pass to Steve Francis, who dribbled upcourt as he eyed the clock. He pulled up for a potential game-winning three-pointer but did not shoot and appeared to commit a traveling violation before dropping a pass for Cuttino Mobley.
"We could have called a timeout, but you never know what can happen," Francis said. "I've been in that situation a million
times before, and nine times out of 10 it goes the other way and we get the bucket. Sometimes you have to take those. I'm a
Mobley, whose three-pointer at the end of regulation forced overtime, fired this one long as the horn sounded, dropping the
Rockets to 3-5 in overtime games. Houston fell one game behind Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"We've got to get a timeout on the last play," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "Just got to give yourself a chance.
Who knows? That might've wound up being a better shot than we got, but the percentages say you've just got to do it (call
timeout) because nobody knows exactly how much time is on the clock.
"Those aren't little things; those are big things. We've got to stop making those kind of mistakes and think on our feet in the game."
Jerry Stackhouse scored 28 points for the Wizards (28-29), who improved to 2-1 in overtime and moved into a tie with Milwaukee for the final playoff berth in the East.
"I think we're going to make the playoffs," Jordan proclaimed. "We would've made the playoffs if I stayed physically healthy
last year. I've never had doubt that we wouldn't make the playoffs. It's just a matter of us playing good basketball."
Two free throws by Stackhouse gave Washington an 88-85 lead with 19 seconds left in the fourth quarter. After a timeout,
Francis went around a high pick by Yao and found Mobley for the tying shot. Jordan missed an open 18-footer just before the
"On the play that we usually run at the end of the game, they covered well," Tomjanovich said. "Steve found Cuttino, and he
made the shot to send it to overtime. This team has gotten better in that area."
The Rockets, who trailed by 24 points early in the third quarter, took a 92-90 lead with 3:43 to play on a basket by Yao,
who had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Working against rookie Juaquin Hawkins, Jordan answered with a pair of jumpers around a driving dunk to give the Wizards the lead for good with just under two minutes left. Jordan's scoop shot was goaltended by Yao between baskets by Houston's Maurice Taylor, who scored 21 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Rockets appeared to stop the Wizards, but Stackhouse's 21-footer beat the shot clock and gave Washington a 100-96 lead with 34 seconds remaining.
"I was just able to take advantage of their guards," Stackhouse said. "They have small guards and we were able to pretty much take advantage of that all night. That situation led to where I was just able to raise up over him and get the shot down."
After a timeout, Taylor scored on a short baseline jumper with 29 seconds left to assure the Rockets of another possession.
Tyronn Lue scored 12 points and Christian Laettner added 10 for the Wizards, who shot a blistering 59 percent (43-of-73). Lue suffered a separated shoulder midway through the fourth quarter.
Mobley scored 24 points, but Francis was held to eight on 1-of-13 shooting for the Rockets, who shot just 43 percent
Francis made his first shot but did not make another. Jordan scored 18 points and Stackhouse added 14 as Washington sped to a 55-35 halftime lead.
"For most of the game, I felt like about 85 percent," Jordan said. "Even though I was getting some good looks and making
good shots, I was just more or less trying not to overdo it, moreso than anything."
Baskets by Laettner and Stackhouse opened the second half and gave the Wizards their largest lead. Houston trailed 74-58
entering the fourth quarter when it rallied behind Taylor, who scored 15 points in the period.
"I was just trying to keep us in it," Taylor said. "I felt like that when I had the ball I could score when I wanted to."
Mobley's three-pointer and Taylor's hook capped a 10-0 burst that cut the deficit to 82-78 with 3:44 left. A jumper by Stackhouse and banker by rookie Juan Dixon doubled the lead, but Yao sank four foul shots around a three-point play by Taylor to make it 86-85 with 24 seconds to go.