It still looks weird. Part of it is certainly because he was older, more out of shape than we were used to. Part of it is probably because everyone looked at least a little bit goofy in those Washington uniforms. But man, Michael Jordan playing for the Wizards--a past-his-prime player for a middling, lottery-bound team--it's still hard to believe your eyes that it ever actually happened. Luckily the NBA's fever dream of MJ being trapped in basketball purgatory lasted just two seasons, and on April 16th, 2003, it ended for good--against the Philadelphia 76ers in the First Union Center.
As far as graceful exits go, it wasn't exactly hitting the finals game-winner against Bryon Russell. MJ had a minorly rough go of it, shooting just 6 of 15 for 15 points, although he also added four rebounds and assists. Rather, the evening belonged to the guy who had arguably replaced him as the face of the NBA--Allen Iverson, who had 35 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals, with only a single turnover, leading the Sixers to a 20-point victory. With their 48-34 record, the Sixers were headed to their fifth-straight post-season, while #23 #45 was headed to the greens early again. "I'm not embarrassed,'' said Jordan, "but it's just not ...
I've had better feelings in terms of playing a competitive game.''
Still, the evening was not without its sentimentality. The crowd at the First Union Center treated Jordan well, giving him numerous standing ovations, and chanting or him to come back in the game as he rode the bench during the garbage time of the fourth quarter. Jordan didn't want to go back into the pre-determined contest, but with some plodding from coach (and ex-Sixer) Doug Collins, he did end up coming back, taking a foul and sinking a pair of free throws to make the last of his 32,292 points scored in the NBA--the third-highest tally in basketball history.
"I never, never took the game for granted," said Jordan. "I was very true to
the game, and the game was very true to me. It was just that
ST. LOUIS -- Vincent Trocheck scored with just under 5 seconds remaining to lift the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.
Jonathan Marchessault also scored and James Reimer stopped 26 shots to help the Panthers complete a 5-0 road trip -- their first perfect trip of at least that many games in franchise history.
Reimer has won five straight decisions and has not lost in regulation since Jan. 7 against Boston, going 6-0-1 since.
The Panthers moved into a tie with Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division, but have the edge because they have a game in hand on the Bruins.
Kyle Brodziak, playing for the second time after missing 10 games due to a broken foot, scored for the Blues and Jake Allen finished with 31 saves. St. Louis lost its second straight since winning six in a row (see full recap).
Coyotes use three-goal 1st period to beat Ducks
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Radim Vrbata capped Arizona's three-goal first period and the Coyotes held on for 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.
Christian Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun also scored for Arizona, and starting goalie Mike Smith had 27 saves before leaving about 4 1/2 minutes into the third period after a collision in the net. Marek Langhamer helped kill a power play after being pressed into action for his NHL debut and stopped six of the seven shots he faced.
The Coyotes have won four of their last six.
Langhamer gave up Ryan Getzlaf's second goal of the night with 26.8 seconds to play, but thwarted two quality shots in the final seconds.
Jonathan Bernier gave up three goals on six shots in the first period for the Ducks. John Gibson came on to start the second and stopped all 14 shots he faced (see full recap).
Joel Embiid trusts the Process, more so than anyone — the process of patience.
After sitting out two whole seasons because of foot injuries, Embiid learned the importance of patience the hard way.
Appearing on NBA TV's Open Court, Joel Embiid opened up about how he reaggravated the fracture in his foot that cost him the 2015-16 season.
"I didn't know how to deal with patience," Embiid said on the roundtable discussion. "I just wanted to do stuff, that's why I think I needed a second surgery, because after my first one, I just wanted to play basketball again. I just wanted to be on the court and I pushed through what I wasn't supposed to.
"At one point I thought about quitting. I just wanted to come back home and just forget everything."
Embiid goes on to discuss the Sixers' turnaround this season and his mindset during his recovery. Watch the full clip below.
Embiid also said he models his game after Hakeem Olajuwon.