Jordan records worst performance in 16 years
Jalen Rose turned his best game in months, while Michael Jordan endured his worst game in nearly 16 years.
Rose snapped out of a slump with 26 points as the Indiana Pacers extended their winning streak to four games with a 108-81 victory over the Washington Wizards, who saw Jordan limited to a career-low six points.
Rose had been mired in a funk that saw him average just 9.8 points in his previous six games. He shot just 27 percent (21-of-79) during that span, including a 1-of-12 performance in Wednesday's victory at Orlando.
But Rose was hot from the start against the Wizards, making 10-of-18 shots and all five of his free throws.
"I am a scorer and scorers keep shooting, keep hustling and keep scoring," he said.
"He was aggressive and the shots he had been missing, he started making tonight," Indiana coach Isiah Thomas said. "He did some things for himself, fighting for Jalen instead of feeling sorry for Jalen."
Jordan could not have been worse, finishing with six points on 2-of-10 shooting after sitting out the final 15 minutes. He had scored at least 10 points in 866 consecutive games since his previous low of eight points against Cleveland on March 22, 1986.
"The reason he scored a career low is because I didn't play him," Washington coach Doug Collins said. "I'm not going to put Michael out in that kind of a game."
"I knew I wasn't going to come back in," Jordan said. "If I felt it was an issue, I would have returned. That was not important. For the effort this team put in tonight, no one should be happy with the outcome. Everything fell into my lap and no one stepped forward to carry the load."
Richard Hamilton missed his third straight game with a groin injury for the Wizards, who were coming off Wednesday's loss at Charlotte that snapped a franchise-record nine-game winning streak.
"It's all in your approach," Jordan said. "You don't want to lose two in a row in a place like this. But we still have played well in this stretch. We just need rest."
Tyronn Lue picked up the slack with a season-high 23 points but was the only player in double figures for Washington, which shot 37 percent (31-of-83) and made just 13-of-22 free throws.
"You can blame it on a lot of things, injuries, back-to-back games," Jordan said. "But we had nothing. Our jerseys were there, but our bodies were not. We just didn't show up."
"We just had one of those games," Collins added. "The Pacers jumped all over us. We have to regroup, we have to ride the crest. Tyronn Lue played his heart out."
Rose had plenty of help from his supporting cast, led by rookie Jamaal Tinsley, who scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and dished out 12 assists.
Carlos Rogers added a season-high 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting and fellow reserve Al Harrington had 12 for the Pacers, who shot 51 percent (43-of-85) and outscored the Wizards, 40-7, on the fast break.
Rose made 6-of-10 shots and scored 15 points in the first quarter as Indiana jumped out to a 30-21 lead. But Lue nailed a jumper and two 3-pointers as Washington opened the second quarter with a 10-3 run to pull within 34-31.
The Pacers had a 38-35 lead with 4:55 to go in the first half before scoring 10 of the next 14 points to take a double-digit lead for good. Reggie Miller scored all five of his points during the spurt, which gave Indiana a 51-39 cushion.
The Pacers scored the first 10 points of the second half, including five in a row by Rose, and Washington got no closer than 21 thereafter.
The Wizards were held to 12 points and made just two baskets in the third quarter. Lue sank a 3-pointer with 7:10 left and rookie Brendan Haywood, who had nine points and 11 rebounds, nailed a jumper at the buzzer to account for Washington's field goals in the period.
Indiana had its largest lead, 82-53, with 16 seconds left in the third quarter as Washington lost its 10th straight visit to Indiana since April 1, 1997.