Magic take physical matchup for fourth straight win

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- It's early yet, but Drew Gooden and Gordan
Giricek are looking like the best additions to Orlando since Mickey

In their third game since coming to the Magic in a trade, the
two rookies scored 20 points apiece and combined for 18 rebounds as
Orlando won its season-high fourth straight game by beating the
Dallas Mavericks 98-93 Tuesday night.

"With the talent we have, you play hard and something good is
going to come up,'' said Gooden, who had 10 rebounds for his second
double-double in a Magic uniform.

Gooden is averaging 19 points and nine rebounds for the Magic,
while Giricek has 16.7 and 5.7. That's helping Tracy McGrady, who
led Orlando with 26 points and seven assists but was frustrated as
he struggled to find his shot against the Mavericks' tight defense.
He even drew an uncharacteristic technical foul in the first half
after throwing an elbow.

"This was a night where they did a good job of double-teaming
and making me give it up,'' said McGrady, averaging 7.5 assists
over the last four games.

McGrady sank a driving layup to give Orlando a 90-89 lead, then
followed with a block of Walt Williams' dunk attempt. Giricek
followed with a jumper off a loose ball that put Orlando up by
three points with 1:10 remaining, and the Magic drained all six of
their foul shots down the stretch as the Magic closed with a 10-4

"We're finishing games,'' said McGrady, who made 10 0f 20
shots. "We're maturing out there each night as the nights go by.''

By winning their fourth straight home game, the Magic reached
.500 for the first time since Jan. 31. They hold a one-game lead
over Washington -- which also won -- for the eighth playoff seed in
the Eastern Conference.

"There's a glow, and we have to keep that going,'' Orlando
coach Doc Rivers said.

Dallas, which had won six straight games, got 26 points and
seven rebounds from Dirk Nowitzki. Reserve Nick Van Exel added 18
points and Michael Finley 17.

"This is the wrong time to come in here and play the Magic, as
they have a lot of confidence now and they're feeling good about
themselves,'' Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "A week ago, it
probably would have been an easier time.''

McGrady averaged 40.7 points over the previous three games, but
was hounded all night by the physical, frenetic defense of Finley,
Raja Bell and Eduardo Najera.

Late in the second quarter, McGrady was slapped with a technical
foul for elbowing Najera in the upper back. McGrady had worked his
way inside, expending considerable effort against Dallas' defensive
stopper, but was forced to pass to Giricek for a 3-pointer.

Soon after, Najera was ejected for accidentally bumping official
David Jones when McGrady wasn't called for losing the ball out of

"I accidentally hit him, and it was a good call to eject me,''
Najera said. "I just really snapped.''

Nelson said he was surprised at Najera's actions.

"We sure needed him down the stretch because my centers decided
to not show up and play,'' he said.

Shawn Bradley, Raef LaFrentz and Evan Eschmeyer combined for
four points and two rebounds in 33 minutes.

The Mavericks took a 10-point lead as the second quarter began,
ripping off a 12-2 run in a little more than three minutes. Van
Exel opened the burst with a bank shot and a fast-break floater,
added a 3-pointer a minute later and his jump hook put Dallas up
40-30 with 8:39 left before halftime.

Orlando slowly battled back, with Giricek's 3-pointer tying the
game at 57 with 3 minutes elapsed in the third quarter. Giricek had
10 points in the quarter.

"When I signed as a professional player, I signed to make the
big shots,'' said Giricek, who sank four of seven 3-pointers. "If
T-Mac passes me the ball, I have to make the shot.''

From there, neither team led by more than four points until
Darrell Armstrong hit a pair of free throws for a 94-89 lead with
18.3 seconds to go.

In the opening quarter, Gooden showed why he was so desired by
the Magic. Displaying a full repertoire of post moves and heady
play, he scored 10 points, hitting all three of his shots while
drawing two fouls.

Game notes
Orlando's Darrell Armstrong was hit with a technical foul
early in the second quarter for arguing with referee Bill Kennedy.
... The last time the Magic had two players hit with technicals was
Nov. 12, when McGrady and Shawn Kemp were whistled. ... Orlando
guard Jeryl Sasser missed his third game since suffering neck and
back spasms after a car accident Feb. 17. He was scoreless in three
minutes at New Jersey on Sunday. ... During timeouts, a fan waved a
banner reading "Boycott France.'' Dallas reserve guard Antoine
Rigaudeau, who didn't play, is from France.


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