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McGrady (37) helps Magic end 4-game skid

©Associated Press

April 10, 2003

ORLANDO -- The Magic moved a game closer to the playoffs Wednesday night.

Tracy McGrady scored 37 and helped the Magic snap a four-game losing streak with an 88-82 victory over the injury-riddled Toronto Raptors. Coupled with Washington's loss, Orlando can clinch a playoff berth with one win or a Wizards loss.

McGrady was 11-of-18, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, and was 11-of-16 at the free-throw line. He surpassed 30 points for the 49th time this season.

Coach Doc Rivers was pleased to move closer to the playoffs so he can rest McGrady, who missed practice time this week with a strained rib muscle. Pat Garrity has been slowed with a pulled groin, and Drew Gooden sat out with a sprained big toe and knee tendinitis.

"I just know that if we're not healthy going into the playoffs, we're not going to upset anyone," said Rivers, whose team holds the No. 7 playoff seed. "It's bad enough they've changed it to a seven-game series this year. We were hoping they'd wait until next year."

CELTICS 87, WIZARDS 83: On retro night, host Washington regressed. Calling themselves the Bullets once more, the Wizards' loss spoiled the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the franchise's lone NBA championship. Rookie J.R. Bremer scored 20, including the winning 3-pointer with 19.4 seconds left, as the Celtics clinched a playoff berth. Washington fell 21/2 games behind eighth-place Milwaukee. Also, Michael Jordan, who scored 21, did not rule out a front-office job with Chicago, calling it a "second thought" if he can't work out a deal with the Wizards. Bulls GM Jerry Krause stepped down Monday.

HAWKS 97, NETS 92: Ira Newble hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:38 left and host Atlanta held off a furious Nets rally. Shareef Abdur-Rahim added another 3 late to extend the margin to six, and after Jason Kidd made a layup on the other end, Atlanta's Dion Glover made a free throw for the final margin. Newble, who started in place of Glenn Robinson, finished with a season-high 16 points. Kidd had his fourth triple double of the season with 23 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. The Nets trailed by 17 early in the fourth quarter, but used a 14-0 run in little more than two minutes to rally.

PISTONS 111, BULLS 102 (OT): Chauncey Billups scored 12 of his 29 in the fourth quarter and overtime as Detroit ended a four-game skid. The win moved Detroit into a tie with New Jersey atop the East standings. The Pistons blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead, but scored the first six of overtime. The Bulls dropped to 3-37 on the road.

BUCKS 112, CLIPPERS 92: Toni Kukoc scored 26, tying his season high, as host Milwaukee reduced its magic number for the final playoff berth in the East to one. A Milwaukee victory or a Washington loss puts the Bucks in the playoffs.

SPURS 84, BLAZERS 79: San Antonio won its 10th straight, fending off a strong second-half rally by visiting Portland. Stephen Jackson made a pair of free throws with 10.6 seconds left and Tony Parker added one seconds later to clinch it. The Trail Blazers, trailing by 12 at the half, trimmed San Antonio's lead to 81-79 on two free throws by Bonzi Wells with 1:28 left. But Portland missed its final three shots.

HORNETS 100, CAVS 81: Jamal Mashburn scored 28 as host New Orleans maintained a tenuous hold on the fifth playoff seed in the East. New Orleans was without starters Baron Davis (left knee) and P.J. Brown, who are day to day.

SUNS 112, MAVS 89: Penny Hardway had 10 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for his first triple double in 11/2 years and Shawn Marion had 31 points and 15 rebounds for host Phoenix. Dallas lost for the third time in four games to drop one game behind San Antonio for the Midwest Division lead and the No. 1 spot in the playoffs. It's the first time the Mavericks have not been at least tied for the division lead all season.

JAZZ 94, ROCKETS 73: Matt Harpring had 23 points and eight rebounds as host Utah snapped a three-game losing streak. Houston's chances of making the playoffs continued to drop with a fourth loss in six games.

EX-PLAYER ON PROBATION: Ralph Sampson was sentenced to a year of probation after pleading guilty to failing to pay child support. The 42-year-old former NBA and University of Virginia star paid all but $1,800 of the $29,542 owed to his 18-year-old daughter. State (Va.) charges are pending against Sampson for failing to appear for child support hearings in Charlottesville and Stafford County. He also faces sentencing July 8 for a child-support misdemeanor in Richmond federal court involving a 14-year-old daughter in Stafford County.

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