ATLANTA - If you took Michael Jordan at his word after his two-point performance Sunday when he said he didn't need to score to help the Washington Wizards win, then you should also believe in the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and the notion that the check is in the mail.
After tying his career low, Jordan went for a season-high 30 points last night, hitting eight straight shots in one stretch, and drawing the chants of "MJ, MJ." from a questionably loyal Philips Arena crowd, as the Wizards turned back the feisty Atlanta Hawks, 109-99.
Jordan, who was 12-for-18 from the floor, was nothing less than vintage, making more than his share of off-balance shots, as well as a spectacular left- handed hook over two Atlanta players in the final three minutes as the Hawks were making a last push.
The Wizards, who shot 56 percent from the floor, needed just about all of Jordan's scoring as the Hawks (10-14) sliced a 19-point Washington first-half lead down to three early in the fourth quarter. Atlanta's Glenn Robinson was largely responsi ble, scoring 33 points for the game and 18 in the second half.
Washington (11-13) got a huge fourth-quarter lift from veteran forward Charles Oakley, who pulled down a big offensive rebound with just under four minutes to go, then assisted Jordan on a layup with 3:33 to go to give Washington an 11-point lead.
Jerry Stackhouse had 23 points for Washington, but only four in the second half. Larry Hughes had 20 points and eight rebounds.
Atlanta's Shareef Abdur- Rahim had 20 points for the Hawks.
Jordan, who shot just 1-for-9 in a season-high 40 minutes in Sunday's 95-82 win over Toronto, came out shooting not long after the echoes of the national anthem had finished reverberating through Philips Arena, hitting his first two shots, a 17-footer on the right wing and a drive.
Then, it was Stackhouse's turn, as he hit the first of his three first-quarter three-pointers at the 9:34 mark to give Washington a 7-2 lead. Once Atlanta's Jason Terry, its point guard and third-leading scorer, picked up his second foul in the first 1:30, the Hawks' offense slowed to a crawl.
Meanwhile, the Wizards were on the way to their best offensive first half of the season, as Stackhouse connected from three-point range with 3:57 to go in the quarter to take the Washington lead to 22-16. Abdur-Rahim hit two free throws at the 3:15 mark to slice the lead to four, but the Wizards then opened a 12-4 run to close the quarter, as Stackhouse scored seven in the run for 15 points in the quarter, as Washington led 34-22 after one period.
The offensive explosion continued in the second, as the Wizards scored the first four points to kick the lead out to 16. Jordan scored 10 straight points in one stretch, extending Washington's lead to 19 at 50-31 with 6:32 remaining in the half.
From there, however, the Hawks began to score, even if they couldn't stop Washington from scoring. Robinson pumped in seven points in the last five minutes of the quarter. But the Wizards were scoring in such bunches that a 13-6 Atlanta burst to close the half could only get it to within 64-53 at the half.
The 64 points not only represented a season high for a half for Washington, which shot a blistering 73.3 percent in the second quarter, but was only one point less than the Wizards' entire output Friday night in New Jersey, where they set a franchise record for offensive futility.