Wizards roll in the house Jordan built, 107-82

Role limited, star sparks Brown in defeat of Bulls

Pro Basketball

January 03, 2003|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

CHICAGO -- In the box score of the Washington Wizards' 107-82 rout of the Chicago Bulls last night, Michael Jordan was credited with five assists, but his biggest assist of the evening had nothing to do with the game.

Jordan's ability to dominate attention once again assisted the Wizards' young forward, Kwame Brown, allowing him to draw a bead on personal rival Tyson Chandler rather than entertain the media.

And, focused on Chandler , Brown came through with a strong performance by tying a career high with 20 points, as well as grabbing 14 rebounds.

"It was an emotional game for me," said Brown, who was ejected late in the fourth quarter. "A lot of stuff was said this summer and people said things about Chandler, that he should have been the No. 1 pick. I just wanted to play hard and play smart and when they threw it to me, make an aggressive move."

The 6-foot-11 Brown was taken first in last year's draft, a spot ahead of the 7-foot Chandler, who, like Brown, came to the NBA from high school.

That Chandler moved into the Chicago starting lineup at center with a breakout 27-point, 18-rebound night Tuesday against Portland, while Brown opened the season as a starter in Washington but was benched, made Brown more determined.

"He was saying a lot of stuff in papers," said Brown. "I didn't say anything, but [Washington coach] Doug [Collins] put stuff in my locker.

"I watched the tape of the other day and [Chandler] got all of his points off of screens and getting dunks. I didn't see him get any points off of post-ups or going over anybody. ... That's what he does and he does it well, but it was fortunate that we had guys who watch tape. I watched it on the plane and I knew what he was going to do."

Chandler finished with eight points, four rebounds and five fouls.

The Wizards, in general, would love to bottle up what they did last night to the Bulls (11-21) and take it with them, as Washington shot 53 percent from the field, out-rebounded Chicago 53-32 and dominated from start to finish, without the usual third-quarter lull.

Jerry Stackhouse led Washington with 28 points -- 15 in the third.

And they did it with Jordan, who had just 10 points in only 30 minutes. He played a largely ceremonial role, so much so that he didn't play the fourth quarter, leaving the sellout crowd at the United Center -- where six NBA championship banners that he helped win for the Bulls hang -- to chant, "We want Mike."

In contrast to last January, when Bulls officials abruptly cut off a rousing cheer for Jordan in his first trip here since coming back from retirement, the ovation during last night's introductions for his second game back in Chicago as an opponent started before his name was called and built and was sustained for a solid two minutes.

"Believe me, it [the ovation] was appreciated, but I was a little embarrassed. The guys were waiting for me to cry. I wasn't going to cry. We had a game to play and it's hard to play basketball when you've got tears in your eyes," Jordan said.

Next for Wizards

Opponent:Indiana Pacers

Site:MCI Center, Washington

When:Tomorrow, 7 p.m.

TV/Radio:CSN/WTNT (570 AM)

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