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Magic atone for embarrassing loss in Oakland

12/14/2002

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Returning home after three consecutive road losses by a combined 58 points, the Orlando Magic finally had something to feel good about Friday.

Despite the absence of Mike Miller (strep throat) and a rift with the coach that led to the waiving of Horace Grant, the Magic avenged the worst loss in franchise history by beating the Golden State Warriors 111-85 Friday night.

"A great pick-me-up, obviously, for me, for the team,'' said coach Doc Rivers, whose team lost 135-92 at Golden state on Nov. 16.

Tracy McGrady played as though he wasn't fazed by any of it.

He had 23 points in the first half, finishing with 36 before resting most of the fourth quarter. Grant Hill returned from a one-game rest of his surgically-repaired ankle to score 16 points in 27 minutes.

Pat Garrity had 12 points and Darrell Armstrong added 11. Pat Burke had a season-high 13 off the bench.

McGrady said he knew his teammates were ready to focus on basketball during the pregame.

"Saw it on the guys' faces, just by their body language, they were ready to play,'' McGrady said. "Really, we didn't have to say anything. We knew what we had to do tonight. We had to put all that other stuff behind us, just really concentrate on Golden State.''

McGrady's layup with 8:12 left in the first quarter put Orlando
up 9-7 as the Magic went ahead for good. Orlando led by 14 at
halftime and by 23 at the end of the third. In the fourth, Orlando
went ahead by as many as 32 using mostly substitutes.

Antawn Jamison led Golden State with 25 points on 12-of-16 shooting, but his teammates were a combined 19-for-63 from the floor. Golden State's other starters accounted for 16 points. Reserves Chris Mills and Danny Fortson were the only Warriors to reach double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

"None of us played well, including myself,'' said Jason Richardson, who finished with four points. "I didn't do anything to help guys out and we didn't get each other going.

"They were ready to play us. When you beat an NBA team like that at home, the next time they play you they remember that. They wanted to do that to us tonight and they did.''

Jamison tried to rally Golden State in the third quarter, scoring 12 of the team's 17 points. Golden State shot 50 percent from the field in the period but got into trouble with eight turnovers.

"Tonight was a game when we could have jumped a couple of spots in the standings, but we have no sense of urgency,'' Jamison said. "We can't put ourselves in position where we have to win 20 of our last 30 games. I think we really need to look at ourselves and see what we need to do to be successful.''

For Rivers, that meant making a decision on Grant that he said
was necessary.

"I think this is the best thing we've done in a while for this team,'' Rivers said. "Obviously we've taken a guy off our team that talent-wise could have helped our team. But chemistry-wise, I think it was a perfect move for this basketball team.

"I don't think he's a bad guy. I just don't think things worked
out for me and him and sometimes in relationships, that happens.
Same thing in marriages, you have divorces. That doesn't mean
either guy is bad. So he can call me what he wants, but I'm not
gonna call him a bad guy.''

Game notes
The Magic activated Olumide Oyedeji (back strain) from the
injured list. He played 5 minutes and did not score. ... McGrady
had a season-high five steals. ... Mills' 12 points also were a
season-high. ... Fortson was called for a flagrant foul at 6:28 in
the fourth. ... The Magic have won 13 of the last 17 meetings with
Golden State.