Wizards 114, Celtics 69
Michael Jordan looked a few years younger, Jerry Stackhouse looked like he found his groove, Kwame Brown looked like his preseason dominance wasn't a mirage, and the Washington Wizards, well, they looked really good.
A night after staging one of the worst offensive performances in franchise history, the Wizards handed the Boston Celtics their worst loss, 114-69 before a sellout MCI Center crowd of 20,173.
"That surprised me," Wizards Coach Doug Collins said. "All the games in that storied franchise, and they've had a couple down years, but I never in a million years thought this would happen tonight. I had breakfast with my wife and said I hope we score 70 points tonight, two more than [Wednesday] night."
Stackhouse, who led the Wizards with 22 points and flirted with a triple-double (10 assists, seven rebounds) said he wasn't overly sympathetic since it was the Celtics who ended his season last year when he was with Detroit.
"I owe those guys anyway," he said tongue-in-cheek. "They put me out of the playoffs last year. I have no sympathy for them at all."
Added Jordan, who has had his share of battles with the Celtics in 14 seasons, regarding the blowout: "What does that mean? Larry Bird is not in uniform. [Kevin] McHale, Bill Russell. It's a different era."
When he was reminded his good friend Antoine Walker was on the bad end of the drubbing, Jordan smiled and said, "That felt good. I can go back to Chicago with some bragging rights."
For the Wizards, it was the third-largest margin of victory in franchise history.
Jordan scored 21 points, had five assists and grabbed four rebounds in 21 minutes. Brown registered career highs in points (20) and blocked shots (six), and he grabbed six rebounds to help Washington even its record at 1-1.
Jordan, who made 8 of 15 shots, said the key to him rebounding from a tough opener, in which he missed two fourth-quarter free throws and a breakaway dunk, was Collins putting him into games at the six-minute mark of the first and third quarters. He had been inserted off the bench at the four-minute mark of those periods in the three preseason games in which he played.
"It's not easy for me to fit right into a rhythm," Jordan said. "Tonight I made some shots early. . . . I played less minutes tonight than last night, and I just shot the ball so much better."
Stackhouse, Jordan and Brown had the most impressive games, but nearly every player who broke a sweat made a contribution, including Maryland rookie Juan Dixon, who brought the crowd to its feet when he checked in late in the fourth quarter and proceeded to score six points.
The complete domination was a far cry from the Wizards' season opener at Toronto, in which they scored 68 points and shot a shade under 30 percent. The Wizards connected on 52 percent of their shots against the haphazard Celtics, who dropped their second game in as many nights.
Boston all-stars Paul Pierce and Walker had 12 points each as Bryon Russell (with some help from Stackhouse) and Brown and Jared Jeffries (12 points, five rebounds) stifled them with relentless defensive pressure.
Washington outrebounded Boston 59-31 as seven players had at least five rebounds. Brendan Haywood had 11 and Russell and Stackhouse pulled down seven each.
"We had a very bad night across the board," Celtics Coach Jim O'Brien said.
The game was sealed after three quarters, as the mix of veterans and young players blended perfectly to make the Wizards look like a team many think can contend in the Eastern Conference.
After missing their first six shots of the third quarter, the Wizards regained the momentum they established in the second period and steamrolled to an 85-60 lead going into the fourth quarter. It started with Brown getting a power dunk, then a three-point play and highlighting his run with a block of Walker's shot and a jump shot at the other end to put Washington up 76-56.
Shortly thereafter, Jordan closed the quarter to put the game even further out of reach.
In the final two minutes of the period, Jordan found himself guarded by 6-foot-1 rookie free agent J.R. Bremer. Jordan seemed to view the matchup almost as a sign of disrespect and drained back-to-back baseline jumpers over the shorter Bremer to emphasize the mismatch. The 6-6 Jordan then nailed a 19-footer from the left wing for good measure to extend Washington's lead to 85-58.
"You can't disrespect the Godfather like that," Stackhouse said.