Washington The first half belonged to Michael Jordan. The second half belonged to Allen Iverson. Now, we'll see if the entire season plays out the same way.
Iverson scored 22 of his 34 points in the second half as the rising Philadelphia 76ers caught the slumping Washington Wizards in the standings with Tuesday night's 91-84 victory.
The result left both the 76ers (20-21) and Wizards (19-20) one game below .500, but Philadelphia has won five of its last six, while Washington has lost six of its last seven. The Wizards have a losing record for the first time since Dec. 16, when they were 11-12.
"They've still got a tough schedule," said Philadelphia's Matt Harpring, who guarded Jordan most of the night. "They haven't been out West yet. They haven't done any of that kind of stuff yet. We've done all that. We've had all our rough time in December.
"If they can make it through that, then we'll meet them in the playoffs, I guess."
Although he was a comedy of errors in the first half, making haphazard decisions and hitting just 5-of-15 shots with five turnovers, Iverson took over the game after halftime. He made 9-of-17 shots, had just one turnover, stole Jordan's inbounds pass to set up a layup after a Wizards timeout in the third quarter and started another fast break by blocking Chris Whitney's shot early in the fourth.
Meanwhile, Jordan followed an emerging pattern: He spends his tank in the first half, then has nothing down the stretch when teams throw a zone defense around him. He took nearly every shot in the opening minutes and had 28 points on 13-for-19 shooting at halftime. But he was 1-for-8 in the second half with four turnovers.
Jordan finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and five turnovers in 42 minutes. He didn't get much help from the officials, taking just one free throw the entire game.
Heat 92, Bulls 79
Miami Rod Strickland scored 20 points and moved into seventh place on the NBA's career assist list as Miami extended its winning streak to six. Eddie Jones also scored 20 points for the Heat, whose winning streak is their longest since a seven-game run during the 1999-2000 season. The Heat won for the ninth time in 11 games. Ron Artest scored 24 points for Chicago, which is 2-10 in its last 12 games.
Magic 100, Hawks 86
Orlando, Fla. Pat Garrity had a season-high 23 points, and Orlando beat Atlanta. Darrell Armstrong scored 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting in 27 minutes. Reserve Don Reid also scored 15 points. Jacque Vaughn and Hanno Mottola each scored 14 points for the Hawks, who have lost seven of eight. DerMarr Johnson had 13 points, Mark Strickland 11 and Nazr Mohammed 10.
Suns 92, Bucks 81
Milwaukee Shawn Marion had 24 points and 17 rebounds, and Phoenix capitalized on Milwaukee's 0-for-15 shooting from three-point range. Milwaukee, which entered the game shooting a league-best .398 from beyond the arc, had its eight-game winning streak snapped. Penny Hardaway added 14 points for the Suns, who beat the Bucks for the 19th time in 21 games. Jake Voskuhl had a career-high 13 rebounds.
Houston Steve Nash had 31 points, and Dirk Nowitzki added 25 as Dallas extended its winning streak to five games. Juwan Howard scored 19 points for the Mavericks, who have won eight of their last nine games. Nowitzki, who averaged 36.3 points in the previous four games, scored 10 in the fourth quarter as Dallas held off a Houston rally. Cuttino Mobley led the Rockets with 35 points. Steve Francis added 25.
Nets 92, Spurs 86
San Antonio Jason Kidd had 28 points and 11 rebounds to lead New Jersey past San Antonio. Kidd, coming off a 1-for-17 shooting performance against Dallas on Monday afternoon, shot 12-for-24. New Jersey, which swept the season series from San Antonio, received double-figure scoring from five players. San Antonio, which lost its second straight home game, was led by Tim Duncan's 32 points and 14 rebounds.
Nuggets 107, Lakers 91
Los Angeles Shaquille O'Neal scored 40 points in his return from a three-game suspension, but Voshon Lenard scored 29 points and James Posey added 23 as Denver stunned the Lakers. The Nuggets (13-28) won for only the fourth time in 18 games and snapped a 14-game road losing streak. O'Neal, who had 11 rebounds, scored 27 points in the first half, but had little help from his teammates.
Blazers 116, Kings 110
Portland, Ore. Bonzi Wells scored eight of his career-high 34 points in overtime as Portland snapped Sacramento's 12-game winning streak. Rasheed Wallace added 33 points and 15 rebounds, and his sixth three-pointer put the Blazers ahead to stay at 107-105 with 2:48 left. Dale Davis had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Portland, which has won eight of 10.