ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- With six minutes remaining and their
opponent up by 10 points, all signs pointed to a loss for the
But Darrell Armstrong wasn't about to go down without a fight -- as evidenced by the six stitches in his chin.
Armstrong scored 11 of his 18 points down the stretch and Tracy McGrady had 35 points and 14 rebounds Thursday night as Orlando rallied to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-101.
In Orlando's game-ending 21-7 run, Armstrong hit three
3-pointers and a pair of free throws.
Pat Garrity added 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds for
Orlando, which cut its magic number for clinching a playoff berth
"Their body language was horrible because they were frustrated," Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "They looked like, 'We're having one of those nights."'
Armstrong was struggling, too. He was 3-for-11 through three quarters and 14-for-59 (23.7 percent) on 3-pointers since mid-March.
Even more, a third-quarter collision with Cleveland's Andre
Miller opened a gash in Armstrong's chin.
Bleeding on the T.D. Waterhouse Centre's hardwood is becoming a
habit for Armstrong. On Sunday, a forearm from New York's Kurt
Thomas created a six-stitch gash on his lip.
"Now, if I get another six the next game, that's the Devil's
number right there," said Armstrong, who also had 10 assists. "I
don't need that. That may mean I might be the Devil. I hope next
game I keep my face out of people's elbows, heads, things like that."
Armstrong began the rally with a 3-pointer with 5:45 remaining, and his second 3 cut the deficit to a point two minutes later.
After a Cleveland free throw, McGrady tied the game at 97 on a
layup and Garrity put Orlando ahead for good with two foul shots at
the 2:21 mark. It was the Magic's first lead since 28-26 early in
the second period.
On Cleveland's ensuing possession, Ricky Davis missed a driving
layup that would've tied the score. Armstrong then sealed the win
with 1:46 to play on his third 3-pointer, the Magic's sixth of the
"I couldn't hit shots in the third, first or second quarters,"
Armstrong said. "Finally, when I got my stitches -- which I may get
all the time now -- I came out and hit some shots."
Orlando rallied without starting small forward Mike Miller, who
reinjured his left ankle early in the second quarter. Miller, who
missed three weeks last month with a sprain, was hurt when he
stepped on the foot of Cleveland's Lamond Murray.
Miller is listed as day-to-day.
After Jumaine Jones' fadeaway jumper put Cleveland ahead 94-84,
the Cavaliers missed six of eight shots and committed four
turnovers down the stretch.
"Andre, I thought, got tired at the end. He'd been out there 48 minutes, though," Cleveland coach John Lucas said. "One of the tough things about Orlando is that you've got to keep scoring with them."
Orlando struggled early, missing 12 of its first 14 shots and
quickly falling behind by eight points. Ilgauskas had seven points
as Cleveland took a 15-7 lead. But McGrady scored 11 points in
three minutes, and the period ended with the teams tied at 22.
"McGrady is going to get his points, so you have to contain
everybody else," Andre Miller said. "We did that until they made
their run. That's what it came down to. When we couldn't score,
The Magic, who play at New Jersey on Friday night, have
three sets of back-to-back games through the end of the season.
Orlando has a record of 9-9 in the first game of a back-to-back,
but is only 5-12 in the second. ... Orlando guard Jaren Jackson,
signed to a 10-day contract Tuesday, had eight points -- including
two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. ... Cleveland hasn't won in
Orlando since Nov. 5, 1999.