Nets' fast start leaves Wizards at loss, 111-67

44-point blowout is 4th defeat in row, worst in nine years

January 17, 2002|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It didn't take Nostradamus, a gypsy or any of Dionne Warwick's psychic friends to foretell that the Washington Wizards would have their hands full with the Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey Nets last night.

The injury-depleted Wizards had lost a tough home game the night before to San Antonio, one in which four starters played at least 36 minutes, not to mention the Nets likely would be looking for a measure of revenge, as Washington dropped a 22-point New Year's Eve loss on them, New Jersey's worst of the season.

What no prognosticator could have foreseen was how much of a whipping the Nets would hand the Wizards, as New Jersey hit its first 13 shots on the way to a 111-67 defeat of Washington at Continental Airlines Arena.

The loss - Washington's fourth straight - was the worst by a Bullets/Wizards team in nine years, and the 67 points were the second fewest scored in the franchise's 41-year history, just nudging the 66 scored against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 5, 2000.

"I'd like to think that we had an awful night," said Michael Jordan, who followed a 5-for-21 shooting performance against San Antonio with a 4-for-14 night last night, in only 18 minutes.

"I'm pretty sure they'd say they had an awful night on the 31st [New Year's Eve], when we got them. You can throw a lot of excuses and a lot of reasons out there, but obviously they're a good team. They have the best record in the East. We can't get up to their level right now. We've got a long way to go. "

It was the most lopsided defeat of Jordan's NBA career.

"The fans came No. 1 to see Michael and No. 2 to see us, and hopefully they left tonight shaking their heads about the New Jersey Nets," Nets coach Byron Scott said.

New Jersey's Keith Van Horn led all scorers with 27 points in only 24 minutes, as he had 17 in the first quarter, and point guard Jason Kidd used his 27 minutes to dish out 12 assists, three more than the entire Wizards team.

Every player on both teams scored in a game that turned into garbage time by the midway point of the first quarter.

"That hurt. That really hurt," said reserve forward Tyrone Nesby, whose dunk with 21.8 seconds left kept the Wizards from setting a franchise record for scoring futility. "That's a smack in the face."

To be sure, blowout games like these arrive from time to time on the often unforgiving NBA schedule, which all too frequently stacks back-to-back home-and-road contests on teams.

And the Wizards, without Richard Hamilton, Courtney Alexander, Tyronn Lue and Christian Laettner, were more susceptible to a pasting last night than most.

But few NBA defeats are as withering and as thorough as the one the Wizards (18-18) endured last night, as the Nets (26-11) were in control from start to finish.

The Nets began by shooting an unheard-of 86 percent in the first quarter, missing only three shots.

"They did have that look in their eyes and we didn't," forward Popeye Jones said. "I think they remembered the New Year's Eve game and we talked about it, that they were going to ready to play, so we had to find a way to get up for them and we didn't."

The game got so ugly that neither Jones nor Jordan, the two eldest Wizards, took off his warm-up after halftime, taking in the drubbing on the bench. The New Jersey crowd, which mockingly chanted Jordan's name in the third quarter, began heading for the exits with eight minutes to go in the game.

The only saving grace for Washington was that the outcome gave coach Doug Collins a chance to get his weary regulars some rest, while some of his younger players, namely rookie forwards Kwame Brown and Bobby Simmons and second-year man Etan Thomas, got extended looks.

Simmons led all Washington scorers with 12 points, and Jordan had 10.

....................................FG FT Reb

Washington Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

MJordan 18 4-14 2-2 0-2 1 1 10

Jones 13 1-2 0-0 0-1 1 1 2

White 17 4-7 0-2 4-6 0 2 8

Davis 23 2-7 0-0 1-2 2 0 5

Whitney 30 1-7 2-2 0-1 0 0 5

Haywood 27 4-13 0-0 8-13 1 5 8

EThomas 17 3-6 1-1 2-5 0 2 7

Nesby 37 2-12 2-2 1-8 2 3 6

Brown 29 1-9 2-2 2-6 0 3 4

Simmons 29 5-13 1-3 3-5 2 0 12

Totals 240 27-90 10-14 21-49 9 17 67

Percentages: FG .300, FT .714. 3-Point Goals: 3-8, .375 (Davis 1-2, Whitney 1-2, Simmons 1-2, Nesby 0-2). Team Rebounds: 7. Blocked Shots: 5 (Haywood 2, E.Thomas, Nesby, M.Jordan). Turnovers: 18 (White 3, Haywood 3, Simmons 3, E.Thomas 2, Nesby 2, Davis, Whitney, Jones, Brown, M.Jordan). Steals: 7 (Nesby 2, Whitney, White, E.Thomas, Haywood, M.Jordan). Technical Fouls: None.

New Jersey Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Van Horn 24 9-13 4-4 0-6 2 2 27

Martin 27 6-10 1-2 0-3 1 3 14

MacCulloch 26 4-5 1-1 1-5 2 2 9

Kittles 29 3-8 0-0 0-2 8 3 6

Kidd 27 5-8 0-0 1-5 12 0 11

Harris 18 1-4 0-0 0-3 4 2 2

Williams 12 7-11 3-4 4-6 0 1 17

Jefferson 24 4-9 3-4 0-4 2 2 11

JCollins 21 2-5 0-0 2-7 0 1 4

Armstrong 12 1-4 0-0 0-1 0 1 2

Johnson 10 1-3 0-0 0-1 1 0 2

Marshall 10 1-4 4-6 1-2 0 2 6

Totals 240 44-84 16-21 9-45 32 19 111

Percentages: FG .524, FT .762. 3-Point Goals: 7-16, .438 (Van Horn 5-8, Kidd 1-2, Martin 1-2, Harris 0-1, Armstrong 0-1, Jefferson 0-1, Johnson 0-1). Team Rebounds: 11. Blocked Shots: 8 (Harris 2, J.Collins 2, Kidd, Van Horn, MacCulloch, Jefferson). Turnovers: 12 (Martin 3, Kittles 2, Kidd 2, Van Horn 2, MacCulloch, Jefferson, Johnson). Steals: 10 (Jefferson 4, Johnson 2, Kittles, Kidd, Van Horn, Martin). Technical Fouls: None.

Washington 18 15 16 18 - 67

New Jersey 43 29 16 23 - 111

A-20,049 (20,049). T-1:58. Officials-Ron Garretson, James Capers, Derek Richardson.

Next for Wizards

Opponent: Chicago Bulls

Site: United Center, Chicago

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 11, 4/WTEM (980 AM)

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