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STACK SMACK: Stackhouse on his matchup with MJ

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One of the most electrifying basketball players in the game, Jerry Stackhouse has captivated NBA fans since his pro debut in 1995. The former Tar Heels star scored 27 points in the first game of his rookie season and has improved every year, averaging 29.8 points and notching an NBA season-high 57 points in 2000-01. Check back frequently on FOXSports.com for Stack's insight and analysis throughout the season as the Pistons pursue a playoff berth.
For more on Stack, check out his official website at jerrystackhouse.com
Well, we play Michael Jordan and the Wizards again this Wednesday. I remember the first time I ever faced Mike in the NBA during my rookie year. It was back in January of '96 and there was a media circus at the game because everybody had made so much of the fact that I was the next coming of MJ. I'm pretty sure he wanted to prove a point to everyone that he was still Michael Jordan and that it was OK to have a "Next" — but the real thing was still playing. Anyway, Mike went out and showed it, scoring like 48 points through three quarters and the Bulls beat us convincingly. We didn't do anything different in that game in terms of guarding him. John Lucas — who was my coach at that time — told us to just play Jordan straight up and that's what I did. I played him man-to-man for about 36 minutes and pretty much all of those 48 points he scored, I caught — but you already know what. I don't get upset looking back at that Bulls game now, though. I'm pretty sure one day some young guy is going to come out and try to knock me off like that and he's going to catch 48 or more, too! That game was definitely a learning experience because I didn't shoot the ball that well and I struggled a little bit. We played them again about two nights later and I bounced back with a big game, but you never hear anything about that, of course. All you every hear about is that 48 MJ gave me in the first game. Mike and I never talked any trash to each other — I think he respected my competitiveness and desire to win. I don't do a lot of trash talking to anybody in the league, really. My goal is just to go out there and play as hard as I can and hope that the "best man wins" that night. There's always going to be another night ... I do raise my game when I play against Mike or Vince [Carter], though — it's a North Carolina thing. We're all shooting guards from Carolina that are trying to hold our own. But at the two-guard position, there's always someone each night in the NBA who raises your level of play. It's always a tough matchup, and there are no easy wins at that spot.
Tagged: Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, Jerry Stackhouse

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