NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
McGrady still hot
Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 1:45 a.m.
CLEVELAND - Tracy McGrady scored 35 points to spoil Keith Smart's coaching debut with Cleveland, leading the Orlando Magic to a 103-94 win Tuesday night over the Cavaliers.
McGrady came in as the league's leading scorer at 30 points per game, and he had matched that with 6:55 left in the third quarter with a pair of free throws.
At that point, McGrady had outscored the Cavs' starters 30-29. He had 33 points after three quarters, and Orlando coach Doc Rivers planned to rest his star before the Cavs rallied.
Cleveland fell to an NBA-worst 8-35 with its fifth straight loss and first under Smart, who was hired as interim coach on Monday when Cleveland fired John Lucas.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas led Cleveland with a career-high 35 points, but the Cavs, who have lost 11 of 13, didn't play much better with Smart calling the shots as they had with Lucas for the first 42 games this season.
Ricky Davis, Cleveland's leading scorer this season, had just 11 points - 11 below his average.
Pat Garrity added 20 points and Jeryl Sasser 14 for Orlando, which was without forwards Grant Hill and Mike Miller, both nursing ankle injuries.
But as long as McGrady's healthy, the Magic look as if they can compete with anyone. He added 11 rebounds and six assists.
The 6-foot-8 guard did whatever he pleased from the outset against the league's second-worst defensive team. He started 6-of-7 from the floor and scored 15 points in the game's first 5:05.
McGrady cooled off in the second period, but had 24 points in the first half as Orlando took a 61-48 lead at the break.
The Magic opened the third quarter with a 7-0 spurt and then McGrady hit a 13-foot jumper, a layup and two free throws to give Orlando a 22-point lead.
Darrell Armstrong's 15-foot jumper put the Magic up by 25, and Rivers was comfortable enough to sit McGrady to start the fourth.
The Cavs closed within 97-88 on rookie Dajuan Wagner's 3-pointer with 5:06 left, but McGrady countered with a basket and the Magic were able to hold Cleveland off.
Notes: Miller missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. ... Smart received congratulatory calls and messages from friends across the country on his new job. One of the calls came from Iowa coach Steve Alford, Smart's backcourt mate on Indiana's 1987 national championship team. "He said some good things," Smart said. ... Smart was pleased to see F Darius Miles on the floor practicing early on Tuesday. Miles has struggled in his first season with the Cavs. "I think it shows that he wants to try and turn the corner," Smart said. Miles finished with eight points. ... Hill did not accompany the team on the trip. He was placed on the injured list last weekend with a sore left ankle.
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