Go to contents

Wizards Snatch Win From the Rockets

Posted February. 28, 2003 22:49,   


Michael Jordan and Yao Ming pitted themselves against each other for the first time in the regular season. Previously, they had just played in the All-star Game.

They, however, had seldom contact with each other due to the difference in their positions. In the end though, victory went to Jordan and the Wizards. Jordan’s team last played against the Rockets on January 28th at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. In 50 minutes, he scored 35 points, along with 11 rebounds and 6 assists, leading his team to victory 100-98.

Although his team lost, Yao Ming did his part. For the 39 minutes on court, he scored 16 points and made 11 rebounds. When asked what he thought about Jordan prior to the game, Ming replied, "Wish he would retire soon. Then, we can play more comfortably, I guess."

Jordan has proven yet again that he deserves respect. Sporting a bandage on his right leg still shows the effects of his injury last Wednesday.

Wizards` trainer Steve Stricker announced Jordan`s knee would not hold and insisted that he sit the game out. But despite vehement opposition, Jordan ran for 50 minutes deep into overtime, and led his team to victory. He made 10 out of the 12 points in overtime, keeping viewers glued to his every move. In short, Jordan proved himself yet again the “emperor of basketball” not only in performance, but also in spirit.

The Wizards coach also lauded the all-star player and was quoted as saying, "I have never seen a player ever play like Jordan."

Before the game, Jordan said he felt at 85% of his top condition. But, after the game, he said, "The more I ran, the better I felt. In the 4th period and in overtime, I felt good. It may have been tough for me though if I had to go through a second overtime."

Just one second before the end of the 4th quarter, when the game was tied 88-88, Jordan tried a ‘buzz beater’, which failed to hit its mark. But he did not make the same mistake again. At the beginning of overtime, Jordan continued to show the magic, putting in 5 hoops consecutively for a full 3 minutes and 47 seconds.

In overtime, he lost only one jump shot 5 seconds towards the end, with his team leading 100-98. Yao Ming grabbed Jordan`s shot for the rebound but instead of calling timeout, Ming passed the ball across the court to Francis. Even worse, hesitating with the ball, Francis did not take the shot, but passed it off to someone else

The Rockets` coach sighed, "Should`ve called for a timeout. Made a big mistake."

The difference between the "seasoned" Jordan and fledging Ming was apparent.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com