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NBA briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 22, 2000

McGrady shoots Magic past Bulls

ORLANDO -- Tracy McGrady scored 31 and had nine assists as the Magic beat the Bulls 99-88 on Thursday night.

"If you do double-team Tracy McGrady, he is a terrific passer and he will find you," Magic coach Doc Rivers said. "He is not a reluctant passer. He wants to pass and he is finding guys wide open for shots."

McGrady, who has scored more than 30 six times this season, was 10-of-16 from the field and 11-of-15 from the line as the Magic sent Chicago to its 23rd loss to 36 games.

Pat Garrity was 4-for-4 from three-point range in a 19-point performance, and Darrell Armstrong had 18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 assists.

Ron Mercer, who played for Orlando last season, led Chicago with 25. Elton Brand had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Fred Hoiberg had 10 points.

The Bulls were 6-of-18 from the field in the fourth quarter and shot 42.1 percent overall.

"The biggest problem was no stops in the second half," Bulls coach Tim Floyd said. "It's discouraging because we had another chance to where I thought our team came out and was competitive, but didn't have enough down the stretch to stop them."

Brand hit two free throws with 2:45 remaining to cut Orlando's lead to 92-86. But McGrady scored six consecutive points and Mike Miller made a free throw as Orlando took a 13-point lead.

Celts halt N.Y. road skid

NEW YORK -- After almost eight years of trying, Boston finally won at Madison Square Garden.

Paul Pierce scored 31 and Antoine Walker added 23 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists as the Celtics defeated the Knicks 92-86 to snap a 15-game losing streak in New York.

Not since Jan. 10, 1993, had the Celtics won at the Garden.

The loss was a humiliating one for the foundering Knicks, who were outplayed in every facet of the game and were booed off the court. It was the 16th time this season they have been held below 90 points, the fourth time in the past five games.

Allan Houston shot 2-for-12 and scored four points, Latrell Sprewell committed six of New York's 17 turnovers and Marcus Camby left after 10 minutes with a strained groin.

Glen Rice was the only bright spot for the Knicks, scoring 32 points.

LAKERS 99, ROCKETS 94: Kobe Bryant scored 45, his fourth time with more than 40 this season, to lead visiting Los Angeles to its fourth win in a row.

Bryant, who scored a season-high 51 points against Golden State on Dec. 6, had 26 points in the first half against the Rockets.

Shaquille O'Neal added 25 and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles.

BUCKS 80, NETS 78: Ray Allen made a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer to boost host Milwaukee.

The Nets, who overcame a 28-point deficit in the second half, had tied it on Stephon Marbury's three-pointer with 5.6 seconds left.

After a timeout, the Bucks inbounded the ball to Allen at the top of the key. He faked, drifted right and hit the winning shot.

FINES: The league fined Heat guard Tim Hardaway and Jazz coach Jerry Sloan for their actions in games Wednesday.

Hardaway was fined $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct after his ejection in the fourth quarter of Miami's loss to Charlotte.

Sloan was fined $7,500 for verbal abuse of officials and failing to leave the court in a timely fashion after his first-quarter ejection in Utah's victory against Philadelphia.

HORNETS: The team placed forward Eddie Robinson on the injured list with a bruised tailbone.

ABA 2000

THUNDERDOGS: The team will hold an open scrimmage at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Bayshore United Methodist Church on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.

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