NEW ORLEANS (TICKER) —It’s good that Michael Jordan reached his milestone early, because he could not make a shot late.
Jamal Mashburn had 24 points and eight rebounds and Jamaal Magloire added 16 and 14 as the New Orleans Hornets rolled to a 103-94 victory over the Wizards and Jordan, who moved into third place on the all-time scoring list.
Jordan made six of his first 10 shots and moved past legendary Wilt Chamberlain on a fadeaway jumper with 78 seconds left in the first half. He made only two more baskets thereafter and finished with 18, giving him 31,424 for his career.
“Obviously a milestone is a milestone,” he said. “It summarizes the effort I’ve given throughout my career. Personally, I was not aware of the record. Stats define you when you’re 10 or 20 years past the game. While you are playing, what matters is wins.”
Jordan, who trails only all-time leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone (35,464), made just three of his last 11 shots. He played the entire third period but went scoreless.
The return of leading scorer Jerry Stackhouse and Jordan’s milestone failed to jump-start the Wizards, who never threatened the Hornets in the second half.
“The Hornets were more prepared to play us than we were to play them” Jordan said. “Their defense baffled us in the second half. We had no rhythm on offense.”
New Orleans had a 41-39 edge with 6:31 left in the first half before going on a 14-4 run. Five different Hornets scored during the spurt and Mashburn capped it with a three-point play for a 55-43 lead with 78 seconds left.
Jordan followed with his historic jumper and New Orleans’ Baron Davis made 1-of-2 free throws. The teams traded baskets before Jordan sank a 10-footer with five seconds remaining.
The shot brought the Wizards within 58-49 at halftime, but Jordan would not score again until there was 95 seconds left in the game.
Magloire opened the second half with a layup and Mashburn followed with a long jumper. Washington did not get closer than 10 points thereafter and New Orleans had its largest lead at 80-58 on a 3-pointer by Davis with 4:08 left in the third period.
David Wesley scored 19 points and Davis added 14 for the Hornets, who have won three straight games for the first time since early December.
“We got a lot of help from a lot of different people,” Wesley said. “it’s nice to build a lead so that late in the game it will be a little different. We are playing now like we did early in the season and it feels good.”
Washington shot 50 percent (38-of-76) from the floor but could not outhustle or outmuscle New Orleans, which held a commanding 46-32 rebounding advantage and scored 29 fast-break points.
“As long as we’re pushing the ball and rebounding, we’re going to be OK,” Hornets coach Paul Silas said. “We look to push it and advance the ball. I thought that is really what won the game for us.”
Stackhouse had 26 points and nine assists in his first game after missing four straight with a groin injury.