Pippen, Blazers hold off Wizards, 105-101

He scores 8 late to hand Wash. sixth straight loss

February 28, 2002|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- With their self-proclaimed father, Michael Jordan, on the shelf with a knee injury, the Washington Wizards did a decent job of upholding the family name last night against the Portland Trail Blazers in their first game in his absence.

But one of Jordan's former kid brothers, Scottie Pippen, did the damage in the Wizards' 105-101 loss, their sixth straight setback and seventh defeat in their past nine games.

Pippen had 19 points, including eight of Portland's last 10 points. His three-pointer with 3:45 to go choked off a Wizards run that had sliced a nine-point lead to three, and he made two free throws with 6.5 seconds to go to seal the win.

"That's Scottie Pippen. Scottie might go the whole game and not hit one and then make a big one," said Washington coach Doug Collins. "He did the same thing the other night in Philly. He's got world championship experience and he makes big shots."

Washington's kids held their own, moving the ball as well as they have all season, but the Trail Blazers, who held a vast advantage in athleticism and experience, kept Washington at bay, out-rebounding the Wizards 49-37 overall and 20-8 on the offensive glass.

The Trail Blazers (33-24) used their offensive rebounding advantage to outscore Washington 26-6 in second-chance opportunities. Portland reserve forward Ruben Patterson scored 20 points and had nine rebounds.

"He's a player who has a nose for the ball and attacks the offensive glass," said the Wizards' Etan Thomas. "He did a great job. A lot of times, we have a player like Jahidi [White] in there to clog the middle, but Ruben Patterson was flying from everywhere."

Rasheed Wallace had 22 points and 14 rebounds for Portland. Richard Hamilton scored 31 for Washington, 19 in the first half.

At one point in the fourth quarter, the Wizards went with a lineup that included guards Tyronn Lue and Hamilton, forwards Courtney Alexander and Kwame Brown and Thomas at center for a combined six years of NBA experience.

"That's part of this process," Collins said. "I think you can see we're not throwing up the white flag. ... We're not going to let that happen."

The Wizards didn't shoot their first free throws of the second half until Chris Whitney sank two with 1:24 left in the fourth quarter. Hamilton made two with 7.2 seconds to play. In Sunday's 92-80 loss at Miami, Washington shot only three foul shots in the second half.

"I'm not going to run up and down the sidelines and complain to the respect our guys enough where if there's a foul, they'll call it. It's not like we didn't have guys taking it to the basket. We just didn't get those calls."

Down by two points with 6.5 seconds to play, the Wizards caught a bad break from the officials, as Courtney Alexander was called for pushing Pippen out of bounds on an inbound play in which contact seemed to be minimal at best.

"I don't want to say anything derogatory towards the refs, but I didn't think it was a foul," said Alexander, who had 13 points off the bench. "And at that point of the game, that's a tough call to make. I didn't think I had fouled him."

The Wizards shot a blistering 74 percent in the first quarter and scored a season-high 61 points in the first half, yet trailed by three at intermission in part because they committed nine turnovers and were out-rebounded 10-4 on the offensive end.

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