Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/7

Game 1: Saturday, December 7th
Game 2: Saturday, January 4th
Game 3: Tuesday, February 11th
Game 4: Sunday, February 23rd

Nets 83


Magic 92

(25-26, 15-11 home)

    7:00 PM ET, February 11, 2003

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 15 25 23 2083
    ORL 18 20 24 3092

    Top Performers

    NJ: J. Kidd 19 Pts, 8 Reb, 8 Ast, 4 Stl

    Orl: T. McGrady 32 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast

    McGrady scores game-high 32 points in Magic's win

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Coach Doc Rivers gazed around the quiet Orlando locker room and chose his words carefully.

    Tracy McGrady

    Magic center Shawn Kemp was suspended earlier Tuesday by the NBA for violating the terms of the league's anti-drug policy, and Rivers knew the status of the six-time All-Star was weighing heavily on the minds of his players.

    "The first thing I told them was forget basketball. I like Shawn Kemp as a person and I care about him as a person,'' Rivers said after the Magic withstood a late New Jersey rally to defeat the Nets 92-83 and stop a three-game losing streak.

    "They were down and it was pretty emotional. But one of the things I told them is that you have to choose to be miserable. I don't care if the situation is miserable, you still have to make that choice to be miserable.''

    Tracy McGrady had 32 points and eight rebounds and Darrell Armstrong delivered a clutch 3-point shot to stop the New Jersey's momentum after the Nets used a 16-6 run to pull to 83-81 with 1:40 to go.

    The loss was just the second in eight games for the Nets, who won three straight going into the All-Star break for a share of the best record in the East with the Indiana Pacers.

    "We shot 32 percent and you are not supposed to have a chance to win, but we did. That gives us something to draw from,'' said Nets guard Jason Kidd. "We just didn't make shots.''

    That wasn't a problem for McGrady, who 12-of-25 from the field and made six of eight free throws. Armstrong finished with 20 points and five assists for the Magic, who began the fourth quarter with a 15-2 run, opening a 12-point lead.

    Kidd led the Nets with 19 points, but made just five of 21 shots. Kenyon Martin had 17 points, while Kerry Kittles added 13 on 6-for-16 shooting. Richard Jefferson scored 15 before fouling out in the final minute.

    The specific reason for Kemp's suspension was not revealed, however it will continue until the six-time All-Star has resumed full compliance with his treatment program. Rivers said he had not talked with Kemp since learning of the suspension just before leaving home for the arena.

    The coach added that he's more concerned than disappointed in Kemp, who has violated terms of the anti-drug policy three times.

    "He has a disease number one and is day to day, and we know that. We knew that the day we signed him. We don't know what's happened yet, we really don't. There's a chance Shawn Kemp might be on the plane next game,'' Rivers said.

    "I'm more concerned about the human being. Honestly, I tell you this, I'd be willing to lose my third starter if you told me for the rest of his life he'd be OK but he couldn't play any more. I'd take that right now. I honestly would.''

    Overcoming a slow start, the Nets finished the first half with a 10-2 run to lead 40-38 at the break. Orlando trailed 63-62 going into the fourth quarter and went ahead for good during the 15-2 surge that put them up 77-65.

    New Jersey gradually came back, pulling to 83-81 on two free throws by Martin. But Armstrong responded with his 3-pointer and Pat Garrity's three-point play made it 89-83 with 44.9 seconds left.

    "We went through this last year,'' Kidd said. "We came back from the All-Star break and lost the first two. You are going to have nights like this. You just have to bounce back.''

    Game notes

    Andrew DeClercq started at center in place of Kemp and had two points and three rebounds in 19 minutes. The suspension also meant increased playing time for Steven Hunter and Olumide Oyedeji. ... The Nets didn't have a turnover in the first half and finished with six. ... New Jersey is 22-2 at home, 12-14 on the road.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 83 92
    FGM-FGA 28-86 (.326) 34-81 (.420)
    3PM-3PA 2-19 (.105) 7-22 (.318)
    FTM-FTA 25-32 (.781) 17-23 (.739)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-44 9-49
    Assists 19 16
    Turnovers 6 13
    Steals 9 3
    Blocks 6 5
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/1) 24 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Jason Kidd Kidd
    Points: 19
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0
    Tracy McGrady McGrady
    Points: 32
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0