Tuesday , Dec , 09 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Magic make losing streak disappear

Orlando, FL (Sports Network) – Tracy McGrady had 16 points, 11 rebounds and
nine assists, as the Orlando Magic ended a franchise-record, 19-game losing
streak with a 105-98 come-from-behind win over Phoenix at the TD Waterhouse
Centre.

McGrady was one of four Magic players to score in double-figures, as Orlando
(2-19) avoided becoming the sixth team in NBA history to lose at least 20
games in a row.

Drew Gooden scored a team-high 21 points for Orlando, which recorded its first
win for head coach Johnny Davis. Davis took over the team after Doc Rivers was
fired following the Magic’s 1-10 start.

“You know for the first time in a long time we have a very happy locker room
and for the first time in a long time I can actually smile for a change,”
Davis said. “We played just a tenacious just hard fought, never say die game.”

Gordan Giricek was perfect from the field (6-of-6) as well as from the free
throw line (4-of-4), scoring 19 points for Orlando. Teammate Juwan Howard also
netted 19 points and was perfect from the foul line by going 7-of-7. Magic
reserve point guard Tyronn Lue was one point shy of being the fifth Orlando
player to notch double-figures as he ended with nine points.

Phoenix was led by Shawn Marion’s game-high 29 points and 17 rebounds, as the
Suns lost for the second straight game. Both losses have come without Amare
Stoudemire, who will miss up to four weeks with a fractured ankle.

Anfernee Hardaway also had a strong offensive game for the Suns, as he poured
in 22 points against his former team. Hardaway got off to a great start,
making his first three shots and outscoring the Magic 14-10 in the first seven
minutes of the game.

Phoenix led by as many as 22 points in the first quarter. The Suns made 18 of
their first 22 shots, but started to settle for long-range jump shots and went
8-of-33 throughout the second and most of the third quarters.

The fourth quarter featured five ties and four lead changes. The Magic raced
out to an 87-82 lead with a little over nine minutes left in the game, but the
Suns responded with a 7-0 run to take an 89-87 advantage.

The Magic came right back with a mini 4-0 run and regained the lead 91-89 on a
Howard hook shot in the lane.

Marion tied the game at 95-95 with four minutes left on a layup, but Orlando
answered with a 7-0 run, aided by a Giricek three, to take the lead for good
at 102-95.

“I was very proud of the effort that they’ve shown throughout this entire
ordeal,” Davis told the team after the game. “That they came to practice and
games with enthusiasm and energy, that they never surrendered even though we
were going through a tough time and I was proud and happy for them.”

The Suns did hold a commanding 73-56 lead early in the third, but McGrady
responded with a three-pointer and followed that with a three-point play to
jumpstart Orlando’s 23-4 burst. The run culminated at the 36-second mark of
the quarter when Gooden knocked down two free throws to give the Magic its
first lead of the game at 79-77.

“That’s really what they’ve been doing throughout this entire streak,” Davis
added. “They’ve spotted teams a large number and fought back and then we’re
not getting it done down the stretch but tonight we go down 22, we fought back
and now we extend it, we get a lead and I thought the guys started picking up
that ‘hey, we can win. We can beat this team tonight’ and that’s what
happened.”

Hardaway accounted for nine of the Suns’ first 13 points. The Magic did keep
it close early and only trailed by five, 15-10, but the Suns picked up the
pace and used a 23-6 run to take a 38-16 lead with two minutes left in the
opening quarter.

Marion was the Suns’ other strong offensive force in the quarter, as he netted
10 points. Phoenix shot 72-percent from the field in the first 12 minutes.

Both teams traded baskets before the Suns went on a quick 6-0 run to take a
52-31 lead with a little over seven minutes left until halftime.

But the Magic answered by outscoring Phoenix 18-7 in the final six minutes of
the period to cut the deficit to 59-49 at halftime. Orlando’s run was fueled
by Howard and Gooden, as both combined to score nine of the points.

Stephon Marbury collected 15 points and 11 assists for the Suns. The win was
Orlando’s first at home this season (1-11). The victory also snapped the
Magic’s string of 10 straight losses to Western Conference opponents this
season.

PHO ORL