Jordan's wizards break Lakers winning streak

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The Independent Online

No, Michael Jordan didn't suit up when the Washington Wizards ended the Los Angeles Lakers' winning streak. Instead, Mitch Richmond, Rod Strickland and Juwan Howard played like the high-impact stars they used to be.

As a result, the Lakers' run stopped at 19, and Jordan, the Wizards' basketball president, earned some bragging rights against his ex-Chicago Bulls coach.

"Let's go see Phil Jackson," Jordan said with satisfaction outside the locker room after the Wizards' 109-102 victory on Thursday night.

Across the hall, Lakers coach Jackson warned before the game that Washington is a "team that plays up to the level of the competition."

He was right. Even though the Wizards are a last-place team, they recently took the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs to overtime and were ripe to end the fourth-longest winning streak in NBA history.

"It was a good run for us," Jackson said. "As I told the players, you have to have a lot of luck to keep these things going, especially on the road."

Portland also lost Thursday, marking the first time the league's top two teams fell on the same night. The Trail Blazers were beaten 96-92 at home by Minnesota.

Elsewhere in the NBA, it was Miami 92, Philadelphia 77 as the 76ers' Allen Iverson was suspended for the game for missing a shootaround; Utah 107, Cleveland 86; Milwaukee 106, Houston 96; Dallas 110, San Antonio 88; and Seattle 117, Vancouver 103.

Not since Chris Webber played here two years ago have the Wizards shown the spirit they showed against the Lakers, even though the crowd frequently cheered wildly for the visitors. Washington took a 21-point lead in the second quarter and held on after the Lakers tied it in the fourth.

Richmond scored 32 points, Howard had 14 and Strickland had a season-high 16 assists. Richmond had 16 points and two assists in the final eight minutes after the Lakers tied the score 85-85.

Shaquille O'Neal had 40 points and 12 rebounds and made 10 of 16 free throws for the Lakers, but his elbows were everywhere and he was fortunate to have only five fouls in the third quarter.

Glen Rice finished with 22 points, but otherwise O'Neal had little support. Kobe Bryant scored only seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.

The longest winning streak in NBA history is 33 games, set by the 1971-72 Lakers. The Milwaukee Bucks won 20 in a row during the 1970-71 season, and the Washington Capitols also had a 20-game run that begin in the 1947-48 season and ended in the 1948-49 campaign.

Timberwolves 96, Trail Blazers 92Steve Smith had a big night for Portland, but it was Joe Smith who clinched it for Minnesota.

Joe Smith scored 12 points in the last 7:05, including a bank shot with 15.1 seconds left. His 17-foot (5-meter shot) just beat the shot clock to make it 93-89.

Terrell Brandon had 25 points for the Timberwolves, who have won six of their last seven road games.

SuperSonics 117, Grizzlies 103Gary Payton had 30 points and 16 assists, one short of a career high. Payton's points total pushed him past 13,000 in his nine-year career with 13,018. He scored 40 in Seattle's 113-103 victory at Vancouver on Monday, one off his career high.

Heat 92, 76ers 77Reserve Bruce Bowen sank three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter against his former team, which played without Iverson.

Tim Hardaway had 18 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds for host Miami.

Iverson, the NBA scoring leader, was suspended for at least one game by the 76ers after missing the team's 11 a.m. shootaround. He was at the arena before the game, but didn't sit on the sideline.

Jazz 107, Cavaliers 86At Cleveland, Bryon Russell scored 13 points and Karl Malone 11 during a 36-8 third-quarter run for Utah.

Howard Eisley had 24 points for the Jazz, including 10 during the fourth quarter. Malone finished with 21 and Russell with 18.

Cleveland was led by Danny Ferry with 15 points.

Mavericks 110, Spurs 88Dallas beat a playoff-bound team for the third straight game. First it was Phoenix, then Indiana. Now, San Antonio.

Erick Strickland scored 26 points and hit five of his team's 12 3-pointers as the Mavericks got their first win in the Alamodome since 1996.

San Antonio was lethargic in its first game since Tuesday night's emotional return of Sean Elliott from a kidney transplant. Elliott started and played the first eight minutes, but he did not see action in the second half after his right groin tightened up. He had two points and four rebounds.

Bucks 106, Rockets 96At Milwaukee, Ray Allen scored 28 points and Sam Cassell added 22 as the Bucks handed Houston its fifth straight loss. Rookie Steve Francis had 22 points for the Rockets, and Kelvin Cato added 20.

Glenn Robinson, held to five points in the first half, had 14 after the break, including eight in the fourth period as the Bucks never let the lead they grabbed in the third quarter slip away.