CLEVELAND (AP) -- Keith Smart watched from a new courtside seat,
but saw a very familiar game.
McGrady came in as the league's leading scorer at 30 points per
game, and had matched that with 6:55 left in the third quarter with
a pair of free throws.
At that point, McGrady had outscored the Cavs' starters 30-29.
He had 33 points after three, and Orlando coach Doc Rivers planned
to rest his star before the Cavs rallied.
Cleveland got close with a late run but fell to an NBA-worst
8-35 with its fifth straight loss and first under Smart, who was
hired as interim coach on Monday when Cleveland fired John Lucas.
"I was happy with the guys because they could have said, 'Here
we go again', and rolled over,'' Smart said. "But they fought
tonight. They didn't give up.''
Zydrunas Ilgauskas led Cleveland with a career-high 35 points,
but the Cavs, who have lost 11 of 13, didn't play much better with
Smart calling the shots as they had with Lucas for the first 42
games this season.
Ricky Davis, Cleveland's leading scorer this season, had just 11
points -- 11 below his average.
"We're at the bottom of the barrel,'' said Cavs forward Darius
Miles. "We can only go up. It takes time. We're a young team.
Everyone just needs to calm down and relax.''
Smart, whose only head coaching experience was in the CBA,
admitted having some pregame jitters and felt his team -- the NBA's
youngest -- was a little nervous, too.
"I was ready for this,'' he said. "To practice for just a day
and a half, and a walkthrough, they did pretty good.''
But as long as McGrady's healthy, the Magic look as if they can
compete with anyone.
McGrady scored 15 points in the first quarter and had 24 at
halftime. He added 11 rebounds and six assists in 43 minutes.
"I wanted to come out right away and let the guys follow my
lead,'' McGrady said. "It's something I have to do without Mike
and Grant in the lineup. I think I can do it every night.''
The 6-foot-8 guard did whatever he pleased from the outset
against the league's second-worst defensive team. He started 6-of-7
from the floor and had 15 points in the game's first 5:05.
McGrady cooled off in the second period, but by halftime he had
24 points and the Magic were in control with a 61-48 lead at the
"It was kind of scary,'' Miles said. "I thought he was going
to get 50.''
Rivers said McGrady's quick start was deflating for the Cavs.
"We were concerned coming in,'' Rivers said. "With the
coaching change, we knew we had to jump out early and match their
intensity. T-Mac came out and was on fire, which is nice.''
The Magic opened the third quarter with a 7-0 spurt and then
McGrady hit a 13-foot jumper, a layup and two free throws to give
Orlando a 22-point lead.
Darrell Armstrong's 15-foot jumper put the Magic up by 25, and
Rivers was comfortable enough to sit McGrady to start the fourth.
The Cavs closed within 97-88 on rookie Dajuan Wagner's 3-pointer
with 5:06 left, but McGrady countered with a basket and the Magic
were able to hold Cleveland off.
"Once they got their emotion back, they were pretty good,''
Rivers said of the Cavs. "They're going to be OK. But it's going
to take time.''
Miller missed his second straight game with a sprained
right ankle. ... Smart received congratulatory calls and messages
from friends across the country on his new job. One of the calls
came from Iowa coach Steve Alford, Smart's backcourt mate on
Indiana's 1987 national championship team. "He said some good
things,'' Smart said. ... Smart was pleased to see Miles on the
floor practicing early on Tuesday. Miles has struggled in his first
season with the Cavs. "I think it shows that he wants to try and
turn the corner,'' Smart said. Miles finished with eight points.
... Hill did not accompany the team on the trip. He was placed on
the injured list last weekend with a sore left ankle. ... Cavs G
Smush Parker sprained his ankle in the third quarter and did not