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McGrady, Magic cruise past Cavs

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 3, 2001


ORLANDO -- Tracy McGrady is off to a fine start for back-to-back NBA player of the month honors.

McGrady, honored by the league Thursday for what he did in February, scored 36 as Orlando defeated the reeling Cavaliers 120-94 Friday night.

McGrady, who shot 13-for-22, including 4-of-6 on three-pointers, also had six rebounds and five assists in his 31 minutes, which didn't include any action in the fourth quarter.

In February, McGrady averaged 29.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5 assists in leading Orlando to a 9-3 record. But he said there are more important goals than being named the league's top player.

"I don't have time to be celebrating things like that," said McGrady, who topped 30 points for the sixth time in seven games. "I'm on a mission, the team's on a mission and we've got somewhere we're trying to go."

Orlando, 12-3 in its past 15, has a 31-26 record and is a game behind Charlotte for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Andre Miller's 22 points and nine rebounds led the Cavaliers, who lost for the 15th time in 17 games. Chris Gatling scored 14 before being ejected late in the third for a flagrant foul on Monty Williams.

McGrady keyed an 18-4 run late in the first quarter that effectively decided the game. He had 11 points, including two dunks and a three-pointer, in the 4-minute, 8-second tear.

The Magic, trailing by two before McGrady let loose, grabbed a 28-16 advantage with 1:28 left in the quarter. Cleveland got no closer than eight the rest of the way.

"This was a game we were supposed to win," McGrady said. "When you go into games like this, you definitely want to come out and put the game away in the first quarter, or the first half. We jumped on them pretty quick."

"I thought we were just a step behind all night," Cleveland coach Randy Wittman said.

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