WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Facing his former team for the first time Friday night, Michael Jordan continued his scoring binge with 19 of his 29 points in the second quarter and reached 30,000 for his career as the Washington Wizards posted an 89-83 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
Jordan was selected third overall by the Bulls in 1984 and led them to six championships in eight years in the 1990s. He retired after the sixth title in 1998, when Phil Jackson resigned as coach.
That signaled the breakup of the Bulls, who have yet to recover. Jordan became minority owner and president of the Wizards two years ago and has made a spectacular return to the court this season.
Jordan scored 51 and 45 points in his last two games, lifting his scoring average to 24.4 points, eighth in the league. He surpassed his average in the first half Friday night, when he joined the exclusive 30,000-point club.
Needing 15 points at the outset, Jordan reached the plateau with a pair of free throws with 5:28 left in the second quarter. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Karl Malone as the only NBA players to score 30,000 points.
Jordan's second-quarter explosion gave the Wizards a 57-37 lead at halftime. The Bulls rallied in the second half, but a tired Jordan made sure they did not get too close.
In the final minute, Chicago cut the deficit to 87-81 and Ron Mercer broke in for what appeared to be a layup. Trailing the play, Jordan soared and caught the shot in mid-air, pounding it against the backboard.