SALT LAKE CITY (TICKER) —The last time Michael Jordan made his final visit to Utah, it went a lot better for the NBA legend.
Expected to retire at the end of the season, Jordan lost for the ninth time in 13 regular-season trips to Salt Lake City. He scored 11 points in three quarters before heading to the bench.
Jordan’s previous “last” visit to Utah came in the 1998 NBA Finals, when he hit a jumper late in Game Six to clinch a sixth title for the Chicago Bulls. There was no chance for such heroics in this game as the Jazz rolled to an easy victory.
“It wasn’t like the good old days in Chicago,” Jordan lamented. “I’ve had my time. Someone had to lose. It was fun to reminisce about the moments here.”
Washington scored the game’s first four points, but Utah answered with an 11-0 run and never looked back. The Jazz led 26-13 after one quarter and 58-30 at halftime.
“This game was over in the first four minutes,” Washington coach Doug Collins said. “It was embarrassing to me, to say the least. It was pretty discouraging to watch that. We didn’t compete.”
Like Jordan, Karl Malone sat out the final period. But he scored 23 points on 7-of-16 shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Jazz. Andrei Kirilenko added 20 points and Matt Harpring 17 for Utah.
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan returned from a seven-game suspension, during which Utah won four times. He was banned for making contact with an official in a victory over Sacramento on January 27.
“I hope he doesn’t change that much,” Malone said. “He’s still the same coach and can’t go out worrying about saying something or not.”
The Wizards trailed by as many as 40 points in the third quarter but came alive to avoid approaching the most lopsided loss in team history, a 151-99 setback at Milwaukee in 1971.
“Jerry should take that tape to clinics and watch how teams guard things and how you beat teams, because that’s how bad we were,” Collins said. “(By removing his starters), Jerry stopped them from beating us by 70.”
The Wizards lost two of three games on their road trip and will host Toronto on Monday, Jordan’s 40th birthday.
“That’s just a number that comes up a lot,” Jordan said. “I’m playing at 40. I have a strong passion for the game and I can still compete, and I do.”
Winless at the Delta Center since 1997, Washington shot just 36 percent (26-of-72), made 2-of-7 3-pointers and was outrebounded, 47-33.
Utah was 9-of-14 from beyond the arc and shot 49 percent (39-of-79).