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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- WASHINGTON 22 16 22 25 85 HOUSTON 24 16 18 24 82 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: WAS - RICHARD HAMILTON 26, MICHAEL JORDAN 18, POPEYE JONES 10 HOU - CUTTINO MOBLEY 25, KENNY THOMAS 13, KELVIN CATO 12

HIGH REBOUND: WAS - POPEYE JONES 10, CHRISTIAN LAETTNER 8 HOU - KELVIN CATO 10, KENNY THOMAS 8

HIGH ASSISTS: WAS - MICHAEL JORDAN 7, TYRONN LUE 5 HOU - MOOCHIE NORRIS 7, OSCAR TORRES 3

ATT: 16,285


Extended Box

WASHINGTON (85) AT HOUSTON (82)

WASHINGTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

JORDAN F 33 9-23 0-0 0 6 6 7 2 0 4 18 LAETTNER F 16 1-5 0-0 1 7 8 1 1 0 1 2 J WHITE C 18 3-5 0-2 4 2 6 0 4 0 0 6 R HAMILTON G 38 12-20 2-2 0 0 0 2 3 0 3 26 C WHITNEY G 22 1-3 0-0 0 2 2 1 1 0 0 3 DAVIS 17 1-4 0-0 1 1 2 0 3 0 0 2 HAYWOOD 30 2-3 1-1 3 4 7 1 3 1 0 5 LUE 26 4-11 1-2 1 1 2 5 2 0 1 9 P JONES 28 3-6 4-4 3 7 10 0 3 0 1 10 ALEXANDER 8 1-4 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 BROWN 4 1-1 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 THOMAS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 38-85 8-11 14 32 46 17 22 2 10 85 (.447) (.727) TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 10(14 PTS)

HOUSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

RICE F 20 2-6 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 2 0 5 THOMAS F 36 5-13 3-8 3 5 8 1 0 2 0 13 CATO C 31 4-7 4-6 2 8 10 0 3 1 0 12 MOBLEY G 43 10-22 4-4 2 3 5 2 2 0 6 25 NORRIS G 36 4-13 3-3 2 2 4 7 2 2 0 11 BROWN 12 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 2 1 0 0 0 K WILLIS 17 2-5 1-2 3 3 6 0 2 1 0 5 TORRES 21 2-8 5-5 2 3 5 3 1 0 1 9 GRIFFIN 12 1-7 0-0 2 3 5 0 1 0 1 2 W WILLIAMS 12 0-2 0-0 2 2 4 1 3 0 0 0 LANGHI DNP - COACH'S DECISION MORRIS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 30-85 20-28 18 31 49 18 15 8 8 82 (.353) (.714) TEAM REBS: 10 TOTAL TO: 9(4 PTS)

WASHINGTON 22 16 22 25 - 85 HOUSTON 24 16 18 24 - 82

BLOCKED SHOTS: WASHINGTON - HAYWOOD 4, J WHITE 2, R HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. HOUSTON - TORRES, CATO. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: WASHINGTON 1-6 (.167), R HAMILTON 0-1, C WHITNEY 1-2, DAVIS 0-1, LUE 0-2. HOUSTON 2-17 (.118), RICE 1-3, THOMAS 0-1, MOBLEY 1-3, NORRIS 0-4, TORRES 0-4, GRIFFIN 0-1, W WILLIAMS 0-1. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: MIKE MATHIS, JOE DEROSA, GEORGE TOLIVER. A - 16,285. T - 2:09.


Box Score

WASHINGTON (85) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Jordan 33 9-23 0-0 0-6 7 2 18 Laettner 16 1-5 0-0 1-8 1 1 2 J White 18 3-5 0-2 4-6 0 4 6 R Hamilton 38 12-20 2-2 0-0 2 3 26 C Whitney 22 1-3 0-0 0-2 1 1 3 Davis 17 1-4 0-0 1-2 0 3 2 Haywood 30 2-3 1-1 3-7 1 3 5 Lue 26 4-11 1-2 1-2 5 2 9 P Jones 28 3-6 4-4 3-10 0 3 10 Alexander 8 1-4 0-0 0-1 0 0 2 Brown 4 1-1 0-0 1-2 0 0 2 Thomas DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 38-85 8-11 14-46 17 22 85 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.447, FT-.727. 3-Point Goals: 1-6, .167 (R Hamilton 0-1, C Whitney 1-2, Davis 0-1, Lue 0-2). Team rebounds: 8. Blocked shots: 8 (Haywood 4, J White 2, R Hamilton, Alexander). Turnovers: 10 (Jordan 4, R Hamilton 3, Laettner, Lue, P Jones). Steals: 2 (Alexander, Haywood).

HOUSTON (82) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Rice 20 2-6 0-0 0-1 2 0 5 Thomas 36 5-13 3-8 3-8 1 0 13 Cato 31 4-7 4-6 2-10 0 3 12 Mobley 43 10-22 4-4 2-5 2 2 25 Norris 36 4-13 3-3 2-4 7 2 11 Brown 12 0-2 0-0 0-1 2 1 0 K Willis 17 2-5 1-2 3-6 0 2 5 Torres 21 2-8 5-5 2-5 3 1 9 Griffin 12 1-7 0-0 2-5 0 1 2 W Williams 12 0-2 0-0 2-4 1 3 0 Langhi DNP - coach's decision Morris DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 30-85 20-28 18-49 18 15 82 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.353, FT-.714. 3-Point Goals: 2-17, .118 (Rice 1-3, Thomas 0-1, Mobley 1-3, Norris 0-4, Torres 0-4, Griffin 0-1, W Williams 0-1). Team rebounds: 10. Blocked shots: 2 (Torres, Cato). Turnovers: 9 (Mobley 6, Griffin, Torres). Steals: 8 (Norris 2, Rice 2, Thomas 2, Cato, K Willis). ____________________________________________ Washington 22 16 22 25 - 85 Houston 24 16 18 24 - 82 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: None. A: 16,285. T: 2:09. Officials: Mike Mathis, Joe Derosa, George Toliver.


Game Story

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Michael Jordan looked injured for the first 36 minutes and looked unstoppable for the final 12.

Jordan returned from a knee injury and collected 10 points and three assists in the fourth quarter to lift the Washington Wizards to an 85-82 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Jordan missed his first game of the season Tuesday after having fluid drained from his swollen right knee. His decision to return seemed premature after he made just 4-of-15 shots through three quarters.

"I hadn't touched the ball in a few days, so my rhythm was off," Jordan said. "It took me three quarters to get it going, but things finally started to happen."

"He was struggling with his rhythm early," Washington coach Doug Collins added. "We were hoping that we could keep it that close to give him a chance to do what he did."

Jordan displayed his usual flare for the dramatic in the final period. Washington was clinging to a 64-62 lead and immediately went on an 8-3 run when he returned with 9:34 remaining.

Jordan began the stretch with an acrobatic reverse layup and made a fadeaway jumper before feeding rookie Brendan Haywood for a dunk. He capped the burst with a another fadeaway to give the Wizards a 72-65 lead with 5:11 to go.

After a pair of free throws by Houston's Kenny Thomas, Jordan nailed an 18-footer. He made another jumper with 2:02 remaining and recorded assists on jumpers by Tyronn Lue and Popeye Jones in the final 91 seconds.

"He's a great player and it's hard to believe that he can still do what he does," Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "He got it going tonight in the fourth quarter and played a team game. He was passing the ball and making shots of his own. I think he's the greatest and he simply elevates the bar in this league."

The Wizards snapped a seven-game skid in Houston, winning at the Compaq Center for the first time since February 8, 1993.

Jordan finished with 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Richard Hamilton led Washington with 26 points and Jones added 10 and 10 rebounds off the bench.

"I'm learning how to play with them and they are learning how to play with me," Jordan said. "It's all getting better."

The Wizards shot just 44 percent (38-of-86) and went to the line only 11 times but held the injury-depleted Rockets to 35 percent (30-of-85) shooting, including 2-of-17 from 3-point range.

Cuttino Mobley scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half for Houston, which has lost eight in a row for the first time since March 7-20, 2000.

Thomas had 13 points and eight rebounds and Kelvin Cato collected 12 and 10 for the Rockets, which lost swingman Glen Rice to a foot injury late in the third quarter.

Houston already is without star guard Steve Francis, who is out with plantar fasciatis in his left heel. The Rockets are winless in seven games since Francis went down on November 23.

"When we finally get everyone healthy, we'll finally see how deep the hole is that we've put ourselves into," Mobley said. "I guess we're going to just have to deal with it because everybody is going to go through this. We just need to find a way to win a game."

Houston had control early, bridging the first two quarters with a 15-4 run to take a 32-26 lead with 7:23 left in the first half. Mobley made three shots during the burst, closing it with a layup and a short jumper.

But Washington responded with six straight points to tie it and neither team led by more than five until Jordan took over.

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