Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/6

Game 1: Friday, December 6th
Game 2: Monday, December 30th
Game 3: Thursday, January 16th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 11th

Wizards 78

(8-11, 2-7 away)

Magic 88

(12-8, 7-3 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 6, 2002

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 24 11 19 2478
    ORL 29 20 18 2188

    Top Performers

    WSH: J. Stackhouse 23 Pts, 4 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Orl: T. McGrady 27 Pts, 7 Reb, 9 Ast, 1 Stl

    Wizards held to 35 points in first half of loss

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - With three road games in four nights upcoming, the Orlando Magic weren't going to dwell the shaky facets of their victory.

    Tracy McGrady

    Despite blowing most of a 23-point lead, the Magic hung on to beat the Washington Wizards 88-78 Friday night as Tracy McGrady had 27 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and Mike Miller added 22 points.

    Shawn Kemp scored a season-high 15, including 11 in the first quarter. Grant Hill was held to five points, but had 10 rebounds for his third straight double-figure rebounding game.

    "It wasn't the way we wanted to win, but we won it," said Miller, whose sailing reverse layup with 2:21 remaining gave the Magic some much-needed breathing room. "And now we've got to go to New Jersey (on Saturday night) and get that one."

    The Magic (12-8), who also visit Boston and Chicago, can take over third place in the Atlantic Division with a win over the Nets.

    "It's good to go out on the road with a win," Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "It just would've felt horrible if we had dropped this game."

    With smothering defense, Orlando opened a 59-36 lead with 8:27 remaining in the third period. Washington was held to 11 points in the second quarter and 35 in the first half. Both figures were season-bests for the Magic, one of the lowest-ranked defensive teams in the NBA.

    "We took bad shots early," Washington coach Doug Collins said. "I begged my players at halftime to move the ball to get some court balance.

    The Wizards rallied, and Jerry Stackhouse's three-point play cut the deficit to 80-75 with 2:49 remaining.

    Stackhouse had 23 points with eight assists. Michael Jordan scored 16, making seven of 21 shots, while Larry Hughes had 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting and a season-high 11 rebounds.

    Washington shot 35.4 percent with 13 turnovers.

    Five points was as close as the Wizards would get, though.

    Stackhouse missed his next two shots to finish 7-for-17 from the field, while Miller made his soaring basket and McGrady followed with a fadeaway jumper for a nine-point lead.

    "When they made their push, we were taking a lot of jump shots," said Miller, who is averaging 23 points over the last six games. "I had an opportunity to take a jump shot coming off of Pat (Garrity's) screen, but I was trying to get to the hoop and, if not finish, get fouled and get to the free throw line, see if we could get two points.

    "It was a bucket that we needed to have."

    The Wizards' offensive woes began early as they missed 15 of their first 21 shots. Still, Washington trailed only by a basket after Hughes' 3-pointer to open the second quarter.

    "The start was too fast; I wish it had been a slow start, tempo-wise," Collins said. "My biggest fear was that the Magic would get us running and we would get into quick shots, which played right into their hands."

    The Wizards then had four missed shots and four turnovers in a span of 3:53, allowing Orlando to score 10 unanswered points for a 39-27 advantage.

    For the quarter, the Wizards shot 5-for-17 with six turnovers.

    "The first quarter and a half, I think we tried to match their intensity, their tempo, and we lost our poise," said Jordan, who missed 10 of 13 shots in the first half. "I think from that point on, we played a pretty solid game."

    Orlando opened the second half on a 10-1 run to grab its biggest lead. In that stretch, Miller had a 3-pointer, a three-point play and a fast-break dunk.

    By then, Washington was shooting 27 percent (14-for-52).

    Game notes

    Garrity has hit a 3-pointer in 47 straight games, the top active streak in the league. ... Entering the game, Washington's opponents had made an NBA-best 80 percent of their foul shots. The Magic sank nine of 11 free throws. ... Orlando is 10-1 when holding its opponents below 100 points.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press