Now the Cavaliers could have a say in Jordan’s hopes of reaching the playoffs in his final season when the Washington Wizards visit Gund Arena.
This is expected to be Jordan’s last game in Cleveland, where he helped eliminate the Cavs from the playoffs four times as a member of the Chicago Bulls. Three of those series victories came on buzzer beaters by the five-time MVP.
Jordan, who announced earlier that he’ll retire at the end of this season, has averaged 30.6 points against the Cavs in 66 career games. That includes a career-high 69 at Cleveland on March 28, 1990.
In his last meeting against the Cavs, Jordan shot 13-for-26 from the field and had 27 points, eight assists and four steals in a 93-84 win on Feb. 4. The victory was the Wizards’ fifth straight in the series.
Washington is trying to return to the playoffs for the first time since 1996-97, when it made a first-round exit courtesy of Jordan and the Bulls.
With Sunday’s 99-98 overtime win at Boston, the Wizards pulled within two games of the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth and final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference with six to play.
Jordan had 25 points and 13 rebounds Sunday to help the Wizards snap a four-game losing streak.
“Mathematically, we’re still in it. So let’s just keep winning and let the chips fall where they may,” Jordan said. “I want to make sure I smile when I walk away this time.”
The Cavaliers, who will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season, need one win in their final six games to avoid matching the worst record in franchise history.
The Cavs went 15-67 in their inaugural 1970-71 season and in 1981-82.
Ricky Davis scored 17 points Saturday as Cleveland snapped a five-game skid with a 79-76 win over New Orleans. It was the Cavs’ fourth win in six games at Gund Arena.
“This team has grown so much that I want to keep playing,” said Cavs guard Milt Palacio, who scored 10 points.
“I’m really happy to win, but sad to think the season is about over. These young guys are becoming a team and I sure want to be here when they finish the learning process. It’s going to be fun.”
STANDINGS: Wizards - 5th place, 12 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. Cavaliers - 8th place, 32 GB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Wizards - Stackhouse, 21.9 ppg and 4.5 apg; Laettner, 6.6 rpg. Cavaliers - Davis, 20.6 ppg and 5.4 apg; Ilgauskas, 7.5 rpg.
SEASON SERIES: Wizards, 3-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 4; Wizards, 93-84. At Washington, the Wizards won despite getting outrebounded 50-36. Washington was 6-of-12 from 3-point range and got double-digit scoring from five players.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wizards - 12-26 on the road; Cavaliers - 12-26 at home.
INJURIES: Wizards - F Etan Thomas (eye); F Jared Jeffries (knee). Cavaliers - G Dajuan Wagner (knee).