Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 1/3

Game 1: Friday, January 3rd
Game 2: Tuesday, February 18th
Game 3: Saturday, March 15th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 26th

Hornets 94

(28-27, 9-18 away)

Magic 99

(26-29, 16-11 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:00 PM ET, February 18, 2003

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 32 23 22 1794
    ORL 16 33 20 3099

    Top Performers

    NO: D. Wesley 17 Pts, 8 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    Orl: T. McGrady 24 Pts, 6 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    McGrady and Miller lead Magic's late charge

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Orlando Magic had every reason to roll over and let the game slip away: Tracy McGrady's shots weren't falling; the New Orleans Hornets were too big; and a comeback from an early double-digit hole was going for naught.

    Mike Miller

    Tracy McGrady

    But the Magic rallied from a 12-point deficit with five minutes remaining to beat the Hornets 99-94 Tuesday night and snap a three-game losing streak.

    The Magic also trailed by 16 after a miserable first quarter, making the comeback the largest of Orlando's season.

    "It didn't look good early and it didn't look good late,'' said Mike Miller, whose driving layup with 1:05 remaining put the Magic ahead to stay. "But at the end it looked good.''

    Miller and McGrady each scored 24 points for Orlando. Darrell Armstrong scored 15 points and Andrew DeClercq had a season-high 14, including seven in a 1:13 span of the fourth quarter to kick start Orlando's comeback.

    A loss would have dropped Orlando to a season-worst five games under .500 and 1½ games out of a playoff berth.

    "Going into the game, I really believed we had to win,'' Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "I just thought, we can't get down any further under .500 and we can't get any further out of the race.''

    The Magic trailed 89-77 with 5:09 left to play, but Armstrong's 3-pointer tied the game at 89 and Miller's shot put Orlando up 93-91. The go-ahead possession was set up by Armstrong drawing a charge against David Wesley 14 seconds earlier.

    "We've been dealt a lot of difficult things, but we hung in there,'' said Miller, who played all 48 minutes. "To win a game like this, it's big for us. It's something to build on.''

    McGrady shot 9-for-26 and failed to top 30 points for only the third time in the last 16 games. But he finished off the Hornets with a breakaway, double-pump reverse dunk with 26 seconds to go after stripping Jamal Mashburn. He also blocked Mashburn on the possession following Miller's basket.

    "A couple of plays down the stretch, there were some fouls that didn't get called,'' Mashburn said. "That's how the decided to call the game, that's how it went.''

    For the Hornets, Mashburn scored 10 of his 20 points in the first quarter and P.J. Brown had 14 points and 12 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season and third in five games. Wesley added 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

    New Orleans, which has lost six of seven road games, shot 22 percent (5-for-23) in the fourth quarter. The Hornets held a 50-34 rebounding advantage, but turned the ball over 20 times for 22 Orlando points.

    "We ran out of steam, I guess,'' Wesley said. "We couldn't make shots. We started playing almost careful and weren't executing very well. They were the aggressor and came out and took the game. We let them.''

    Orlando opened the game by misfiring from long range and close. Until DeClercq's layup with 7:12 left, the Magic had missed their first eight shots. Orlando shot 7-for-24 in the period, with McGrady missing six of seven tries.

    "They came out flat, and that happens,'' Rivers said.

    The Hornets capitalized by scoring the game's first 11 points en route to a 19-5 lead. New Orleans, shooting 12-for-18 for the quarter, ended the period ahead 32-16 on George Lynch's buzzer-beating dunk off a perfect backdoor bounce pass from Wesley.

    But the Magic finally awoke as McGrady found his shot. He scored eight straight points, putting Orlando in position for a 15-5 run that cut the deficit to two points.

    Orlando trailed 55-49 at halftime, but scored seven unanswered points to open the third quarter. DeClercq's putback tip-in with 9:05 left gave the Magic their first lead of the game.

    Game notes

    Brown sank all of his six foul shots, raising his streak of consecutive free throws made to 37. The Hornets franchise record is 43, set twice by Dell Curry. ... Injuries sidelined Orlando reserves Jeryl Sasser and Ryan Humphrey. Sasser, a second-year guard, suffered neck and back spasms when his car was rear-ended Monday night. Humphrey, a rookie forward, sprained his left ankle during pregame warmups. ... New Orleans was missing guard Courtney Alexander, who strained his left groin Sunday against Denver.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 94 99
    FGM-FGA 35-80 (.438) 35-82 (.427)
    3PM-3PA 5-10 (.500) 3-15 (.200)
    FTM-FTA 19-22 (.864) 26-33 (.788)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-50 12-34
    Assists 21 17
    Turnovers 20 9
    Steals 4 11
    Blocks 6 6
    Fast Break Points 0 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 31 (1/0) 22 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    David Wesley Wesley
    Points: 17
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Tracy McGrady McGrady
    Points: 24
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2