Like a closer in baseball, Jordan finishes Cavs

By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - If the Washington Wizards continue to win, Michael Jordan sees no reason to become a starter again.

Jerry Stackhouse scored 27 points and Jordan had eight of his 12 in the fourth quarter Saturday night to lead Washington to a 93-79 win over Cleveland, their second victory over the Cavaliers in a week.

"We don't stink as bad," Jordan said, comparing the Wizards with last season's team.

"As long as we keep winning, no, I see no changes. If there comes a time to juggle the lineup, yes, I can see me back starting."

It was the Wizards' third straight victory and second in as many nights.

"Last night's game didn't mean anything if we didn't come in here and win this game tonight," Stackhouse said of their last-second win Friday over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jordan put the Wizards up 77-64 with 6:53 left on a 16-foot fadeaway from the baseline against the overmatched Bimbo Coles.

After the Cavaliers pulled within eight with under three minutes left, Jordan drove the lane and scored against Darius Miles as flashes popped in the sellout crowd of 20,562.

"The Wizards just came out on top in the second half," Miles said. "They made some big shots. Jordan made like four big shots in a row. You can't do nothing about it -- you got a hand in his face."

Jordan played a season-high 31 minutes after playing 30 the previous night. He also had eight rebounds and six assists.

"We ran the offense through him and broke the game open," Wizards coach Doug Collins said. "He played a lot like a point guard for a stretch -- getting six assists and zero turnovers in that span."

Stackhouse paced the Wizards, shooting 8-for-15 from the floor and 8-for-9 at the line. He had 35 points in the Wizards' 107-100 win over the Cavaliers on Wednesday in Washington.

The Cavaliers were led by Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ricky Davis with 19 points each. Darius Miles and Tyrone Hill both had 12.

Davis was 7-for-23 shooting and Ilgauskas was just 4-for-16.

"I think our biggest thing is we started settling for one pass and a shot," Coles said. "We've just got to continue to be patient on offense."

The Cavaliers, one of the league's worst shooting teams, hit just under 35 percent of their field goals.

"We're just a bunch of young guys playing on pure talent," Miles said.

Tyronn Lue scored 12 and Kwame Brown 10 for Washington.

After Cleveland tied it at 47, Washington used an 18-6 run that included eight points off free throws to take a 65-53 lead with 2:19 left in the third quarter.

Both teams were playing on the second night of back-to-back games and looked sluggish during a sloppy first quarter that included a combined 14 turnovers.

Jordan entered game with 4:58 left in the first quarter and missed the rim on his first two shots.

After Cleveland tied it at 17 to open the second quarter, Washington went on a 9-4 run led by rookies Jared Jeffries and Juan Dixon.

Coles hit a 3-pointer and a 20-foot jumper and Ilgauskas made a pair of free throws during a 7-0 run that gave the Cavaliers a 36-35 lead with 3:44 left in the half.

Stackhouse hit 3-pointer, got a steal and made a free throw for a 43-40 halftime lead. He led all scorers with 18 at the half.

Notes: The Cavaliers have lost three straight and have lost their last four against Washington. ... Collins is a win away from 300 career victories. ... The Wizards' bench outscored the Cavaliers' 39-11. ... Cavaliers rookie guard Dajuan Wagner will participate in full practices next week. He has been out since being hospitalized last month with a bladder infection. ... High school basketball star LeBron James was in attendance.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)