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Gooden's U-turn helps Magic win

Wire services
Published January 17, 2004

ORLANDO - Drew Gooden broke out of a slump just in time to save the Magic.

Gooden scored a career-high 32, six more than he had in his previous five games, and Tracy McGrady had 42 in leading Orlando to a 124-118 overtime win over the Celtics on Friday night.

This has been an erratic season for Gooden. He lost his starting slot early and has been more down than up lately, shooting 34 percent without scoring in double figures since Jan.6.

But Gooden's play was consistent against Boston. He had 18 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, making all five of his shots, including his second and third 3-pointers of the season.

"I was due," said Gooden, who shot 12-for-18. "I had a little dry spell for about five games, and I felt like I let my team down during that stretch. Tonight, I told the team that I was going to go out and give it all I had."

The Celtics had a brief 115-114 lead, but Gooden made a 19-foot jumper with 3:27 remaining, sparking an 8-0 run that helped the Magic improve to 3-0 in overtime.

"When he plays like this, he makes us a better basketball team," Orlando coach Johnny Davis said.

Boston tied it at 111 with 2.3 seconds left in regulation on Walter McCarty's 3-pointer.

Celtics forward Vin Baker played for the first time since he was suspended for failing to comply with the conditions of his aftercare program.

Also, the Magic signed forward Lee Nailon to a second 10-day contract after he averaged 7.3 points and three rebounds in four games.

Wilkens wins first in N.Y.

NEW YORK - Lenny Wilkens turned Stephon Marbury loose and enjoyed a laugher in his first game as Knicks coach.

Marbury had 17 assists before going to the bench for good with nine minutes remaining in a 108-88 victory over the SuperSonics.

Repeatedly looking to shoot the first open shot, New York had the kind of offensive freedom not seen from the home team in quite some time. Keith Van Horn scored 30 in 28 minutes, and Allan Houston added 18 in a game that turned into a blowout before halftime.

Two days after Don Chaney was fired, Wilkens added Mark Aguirre and Dick Helm to his staff. Aguirre was hired as a developmental coach two weeks ago by team president Isiah Thomas, and Helm worked with Wilkens in Toronto, Atlanta, Cleveland and Seattle.

PACERS 89, SPURS 79: Reggie Miller scored 28, including seven 3-pointers, to lead host Indiana. Jermaine O'Neal overcame foul trouble and scored 12 of his 20 in the final quarter, when the Pacers took control. Miller sealed the victory when he made a 3-pointer with 48.5 seconds left to give Indiana an 84-73 lead.

PISTONS 98, WIZARDS 77: Host Detroit won its 11th straight. Richard Hamilton scored 17, and Chauncey Billups added 12 points and 10 assists for the Pistons, who hadn't won 11 in a row since the 1990-91 season. Washington has lost 10 straight on the road and five in a row to Detroit. Juan Dixon, who didn't score in the first three quarters, led the Wizards with 14 points. Also, Washington signed forward Torraye Braggs to a 10-day contract, filling a hole in the lineup caused by Christian Laettner's five-game drug policy suspension.

SUNS 104, WARRIORS 93: Joe Johnson scored a season-high 26 on 12 for 16 shooting, most from the outside, for host Phoenix. Johnson lifted the Suns out of trouble with outside jumpers three times in the final 6:14.

MAVERICKS 91, NUGGETS 88: Michael Finley scored five in the final 1:26, and visiting Dallas held on. Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points for the Mavericks, who led by eight with 4:56 remaining but saw the margin reduced to one. Denver's Andre Miller scored 28, including eight straight to cut the lead to 89-88, but Finley's two free throws with 5.7 seconds left sealed it.

KINGS 103, LAKERS 83: Peja Stojakovic scored 23 and host Sacramento routed injury-depleted Los Angeles. Mike Bibby had 21 points for the Kings, who won their fourth straight and improved the league's best record to 28-9. The Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Horace Grant and Rick Fox all missed the game.

WILLIAMS ON 20/20: Former Nets star Jayson Williams said he was "terrified" of going to prison in an interview with Barbara Walters. Williams, 35, is charged with seven counts, including aggravated manslaughter and witness tampering, for a 2002 shooting at his estate that killed Costas "Gus" Christofi. Williams faces up to 55 years in prison. "I have a beautiful family. I want to be here, for my family," Williams said. "I want to be here for my baby (his wife is expecting their second child). I want to see the birth of my baby. ... I don't want to ever leave my family over this accident."

RAPTORS: Vince Carter has a strained right quadriceps and is listed as day to day.

- Information from was used in the report.

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