Michael Jordan’s record-setting night was tarnished by an unsubstantiated telephone call claiming his mother had been hospitalized.
The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Chicago Bulls for the first time, 99-95, Tuesday night, ruining Jordan’s NBA record-setting 788th consecutive double-digit scoring game.
Jordan scored 17 in the first half to break the record, but struggled badly after getting a note at halftime saying his mother, Deloris, had been rushed to a hospital near Greenville, N.C.
The note said a call had come into the Target Center command office from Jordan’s brother, Larry, according to a source who spoke on the condition he not be identified.
Jordan was told no one had been admitted to the hospital under his mother’s name. Two women reached by The Associated Press at the hospital in Rocky Mount, N.C., also said no one had been admitted under that name Tuesday.
Jordan and the rest of the Bulls said the call was a hoax, but Jordan refused comment when asked if he had spoken with his mother directly.
“It was tough focusing,” said Jordan, who missed 10 of 14 shots in the second half as the Bulls blew a 56-47 halftime lead.
Jordan scored 33 points to eclipse Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s mark of 787 games with at least 10 points. But Stephon Marbury scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half to rally the Timberwolves, who had been 0-16 against Chicago since joining the league.
Utah 132, Denver 99--Greg Ostertag scored a season-high 21 points and Antoine Carr added a season-best 19 as the Jazz gained the 1,000th victory in their franchise history at Denver.
Karl Malone had 18 points and 10 rebounds and John Stockton had nine assists and four points for the Jazz, which improved to 8-4 since Stockton’s return from knee surgery after missing 18 games.
Milwaukee 105, Dallas 98--Glenn Robinson scored six of his 32 points in overtime and Terrell Brandon made three free throws in the final 11.8 seconds at Milwaukee as the Bucks handed the Mavericks their 13th consecutive loss.
The Mavericks, who have not won since Dec. 4, the night Don Nelson debuted as coach, were led by Michael Finley with 23 points and Khalid Reeves with 18.
New York Knicks 84, Orlando 79--Larry Johnson had 26 points and John Starks scored 14 of his 16 in the second half at Orlando, Fla.
The Knicks improved to 2-1 since losing Patrick Ewing to a season-ending wrist injury, getting 10 rebounds and two blocks in 34 minutes from Buck Williams, who started in Ewing’s place.
Miami 90, Cleveland 78--Tim Hardaway had 29 points, stopping every Cavalier comeback in its tracks at Cleveland and leading the Heat to its sixth consecutive victory over the Cavaliers.
Cleveland rookie point guard Brevin Knight, the league leader in steals, was hampered by a sprained ankle. He sat out the first half and could not stop Hardaway in the second.
Detroit 100, Toronto 95--Grant Hill scored 12 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Pistons at Auburn Hills, Mich.
Detroit overcame 36 points from Damon Stoudamire, including a team-record seven three-point baskets. Jerry Stackhouse made his first start for the Pistons and had 24 points, and Joe Dumars added a season-high 24.
Indiana 109, New Jersey 91--Reggie Miller and Chris Mullin scored 23 points apiece and the Pacers broke open the game in the third quarter as they beat the Nets at Indianapolis.
Rik Smits added 20 points and 13 rebounds as Indiana won for the eighth time in 10 games.
Phoenix 100, Boston 90--Cliff Robinson had 12 of his 18 points in the second half, steadying the Suns in the face of Boston’s pressure defense at Phoenix.
Robinson, who started at center, also had nine rebounds and three blocks before fouling out with 3:08 to play. By then, the Suns had a 92-78 lead.
Seattle 107, Golden State 87--Gary Payton recorded his fifth career triple-double with 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to lead the SuperSonics at Oakland.
Seattle improved its record to an NBA-best 24-6 with its sixth consecutive road win. Golden State has lost two in a row at home and five of seven overall.
San Antonio 124, Vancouver 115--Chuck Person ended a season-long slump by making nine three-point shots and scoring a season-high 32 points at Vancouver.
Portland 96, Philadelphia 86--Brian Grant had 20 points and 11 rebounds and the Trail Blazers broke away in the fourth quarter at Portland.
Vincent Askew, who hadn’t played in two games since being activated from the injured list, was suspended for one game by the Portland Trail Blazers for missing practice. . . . Cleveland’s Shawn Kemp has moved into second place among Eastern Conference forwards in balloting for the NBA All-Star game. Kemp, who has played in the last five All-Star games, has received 98,416 votes, trailing only Detroit’s Grant Hill (202,794), the league announced. In the Western Conference, Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett (137,714) and Utah’s Karl Malone (116,912) continue to lead all forwards. Shaquille O’Neal of the Lakers (147,266) leads at center.