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McGrady scores 27 in win over Magic
By wire services
Published January 21, 2005
ORLANDO - Tracy McGrady ignored the boos and the angry crowd. He just played hard - and won.
Playing in Orlando for the first time since a bitter parting last summer, McGrady scored 27 to lead a balanced offense and the Rockets beat the Magic 108-99 Thursday night.
"I was so focused," said McGrady, winner of two scoring titles in four seasons with Orlando. "I knew the reception I was going to get, but while I was out on the basketball court I was just trying to find ways to get myself going and make my team better."
Unlike his time in Orlando, when McGrady was often the Magic's first, last and only scoring option, his Rockets teammates can help - and he is willing to lean on them.
Yao Ming added 20 points, and Bob Sura had 19 points, a season-high 11 rebounds and nine assists. David Wesley scored 18, and Juwan Howard 13.
"I didn't want to come out and make it a Tracy McGrady show, jacking up shots and playing outside the offense," said McGrady, who shot 8-of-21.
Magic forward Grant Hill said this was one of the best floor games he had ever seen his former teammate play.
"I think he realizes that other guys getting touches, getting involved early helps closing games out," said Hill, sidelined for almost all of McGrady's stay in Orlando. "It might not be as sexy as scoring 50, but you can see the growth on his part."
Steve Francis, the biggest name Orlando received in the McGrady trade, led the Magic with 28 points and nine assists. Kelvin Cato, who also came over from Houston, tied his season high with 14 points.
Hill had 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting, the day after an MRI exam on his sore right wrist showed only a bruise.
It didn't take long for McGrady to make his presence felt again in Orlando. He scored nine in the first quarter, his shot clock-beating 3-pointer putting Houston ahead 33-21.
The Magic trailed by 17 midway through the second quarter, but rallied to cut the deficit to four with 3:37 remaining.
That's when McGrady stopped the comeback. He hit two free throws, then sank a layup off an inbounds pass under the basket for a 100-93 lead.
The sellout crowd, focusing its frustration for last season's 61-loss debacle on McGrady, booed him from introductions on. Many waved signs roasting "Me-Mac" for his recent disclosure that he slacked off during his final season here.
"Actually, Toronto was worse," said McGrady, who angered that city by leaving as a free agent in 2000.
MAVERICKS 99, CLIPPERS 77: Jason Terry scored 11 of his 15 in the third quarter, when host Dallas went ahead to stay.
With Avery Johnson coaching while Don Nelson missed his first game after shoulder surgery, the Mavericks had a 14-6 run over the final 3:44 of the third quarter. Terry had half the points in the game-turning stretch.
There were 12 lead changes to that point, but the score got lopsided when the Clippers had an eight-minute stretch in the fourth quarter without a field goal.
"Our big adjustment was paying attention to offensive rebounds. Second shots were killing us," Terry said. "Avery got us focused. We got in our tempo."