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McGrady doing too much, Magic not helping its star

1/23/2003

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The load is getting so heavy for Tracy
McGrady in Orlando, that he doesn't even want to talk about it
anymore.

McGrady scored 31 points, handed out seven assists and played 42
minutes, all team-highs, as the Magic held off the Chicago Bulls
94-91 Wednesday night.

It was the fourth straight game that McGrady scored over 30
points and the third straight victory for the Magic. But the NBA's
leading scorer wasn't happy about either of those positives.

He hit only six of 12 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter,
and the Magic were only 15 of 24 from the line in the final period,
helping keep Chicago in the game. McGrady was so disgusted that he
booted the basketball into the upper deck after the game.

"I never missed that many free throws,'' was all he had to say
as he uncharacteristically left the locker room quickly after the
game.

Magic coach Doc Rivers didn't blame his star. With Grant Hill
out indefinitely because of recurring ankle problems, the load too
often falls squarely on McGrady, with little support from his
teammates.

Mike Miller scored 17 points for the Magic, and Shawn Kemp and
Darrell Armstrong had 12 apiece. But Orlando shot only 38.5
percent.

The Magic scored only two field goals in the fourth quarter and
only nine altogether in the second half. Though they held a 73-60
lead with 2:29 to play in the third quarter, they didn't hit
another shot from the field until Andrew DeClerq was credited for a
layup with 1:47 left in the game.

"We've definitely got to find a way to get Tracy some rest so
he's still strong in the fourth quarter,'' Rivers said. "We aren't
built to where we're going to blow teams out, but we got a lot of
really good looks and didn't make any shots.

"We've got to find a way to make those.''

Bulls coach Bill Cartwright felt the same way about his team.
Chicago trailed only 75-67 at the end of the third quarter and
didn't give up a field goal the first 10:13 of the fourth period,
but wasn't able to get closer than four points during that span.

The Bulls were only seven of 25 from the field in the final
period.

"We didn't execute well, and that was disappointing,''
Cartwright said. "We had some guys with some real nice
opportunities to make shots and they didn't.

"I was hoping we' have some better performances, but we just
didn't.

The Bulls did eventually cut the lead to 91-89 when Jalen Rose
scored the last of his 28 points on a 3-pointer with 14 seconds to
play.

Darrell Armstrong then hit a pair of free throws for Orlando to
make it 93-89, but Marcus Fizer converted a layup to make it a
two-point game again with five seconds to play.

McGrady made only one of two free throws with four seconds left
to make it 94-91 and leave the door open for Chicago to tie with a
3-pointer.

Rick Brunson, who had a season-high 17 points, was sandwiched by
Miller and Armstrong as he tried to get off a 3-point attempt and
his shot was blocked.

"It was a win and that's about all you can say, Rivers said.

Game notes
Brunson's 17 points were a season high. He was activated
off the injured list Monday. He scored 15 of his points in the
second quarter. ... The Magic were whistled for three defensive
3-second violations in the first half. ... Rose hit all three of
his 3-point attempts. ... DeClercq and McGrady were the only Magic
players to score from the field in the fourth quarter.