ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Playing four games in five nights takes a
toll, so it was no surprise the New Orleans Hornets didn't have the
usual spring in their legs.
Outrebounded for the first time in 21 games, the Hornets fell to
the Orlando Magic 98-88 Saturday night. It was just the third loss
in New Orleans' last 13 games.
"They caught us on a back-to-back while they were sitting three
days, waiting for us,'' New Orleans coach Paul Silas said.
"Tempo-wise, it could have been better. Nevertheless, I'd like to
play them when we're fresh.''
The Magic barely topped 40-percent shooting, but their 48-42
rebounding edge led to a 29-10 advantage on second-chance points.
Orlando's starting five outrebounded New Orleans' starters
35-21. Drew Gooden had 11 rebounds, while Tracy McGrady had nine to
go with his 34 points. Gordan Giricek added 13 points and seven
"I think we did a good job on their main interior guys, with
energy, just wanting it, going after the ball,'' said Gooden, who
fell a point shy of his seventh double-double in 12 games since
joining Orlando in a mid-February trade. "If one person does, it's
contagious and everybody follows.''
Orlando (34-33), which had lost three of its last four, avoided
a drop below .500 for the first time in two weeks.
Jamal Mashburn was held to eight points, matching his season
low, on 4-for-13 shooting. He did have nine assists.
"We were just making it tough for them, tough for Mashburn, to
get to his sweet spots,'' McGrady said. "I've watched Mash over
the past years and I know his game well. That's why I do a great
job defending him.''
Baron Davis, in his third game back following a 20-game layoff
due to knee surgery, looked out of sorts until scoring seven points
in the last few minutes. He played the entire second quarter,
shooting 0-for-4 with three personal fouls and a technical.
Despite Davis' poor play, he might return soon to the starting
"He's got to get into some kind of flow, where he can be the
Baron of old,'' Silas said. "Right now, with all that time off,
he's struggling a little bit.''
McGrady scored 10 points in the final 5:14 of the third quarter,
allowing the Magic to break away from a tie game. His 3-pointer at
the period's close put Orlando up 72-65.
McGrady was on the bench for the start of the final quarter. But
Orlando, with little-used players Steven Hunter and Jeryl Sasser on
the floor, outscored the Hornets 10-4 over the first 5:21 to open a
game-high 14-point lead.
Orlando led 47-41 at the break following a half that featured 10
ties and nine lead changes. Neither team led by more than five
until the closing seconds, when Giricek converted a breakaway layup
into a three-point play.
New Orleans scored 14 points in the second quarter on 5-for-21
shooting, including misses on its last eight shots.
The Hornets' shooting woes continued into the second half, as
the Magic converted two misses into baskets for a 10-point lead.
But the Hornets went on a 17-7 run that erased the deficit in
less than five minutes. Brown sparked the comeback, scoring five of
New Orleans' eight baskets.
That was as close as New Orleans would get, though. After
Magloire tied the game at 58, McGrady hit a jumper to put Orlando
back in the lead.
New Orleans had 16 free throws in the first half, but it
took until the 3:09 mark of the fourth quarter until the Hornets
went to the line again. ... New Orleans' 20-game string of
outrebounding its opponents was the first time since 1995 a team
has accomplished that feat. San Antonio was the last to put
together such a streak. ... McGrady and Mashburn are the only
players in the Eastern Conference averaging at least 20 points, six
rebounds and five assists. ... Among the 15,601 in attendance was
future NFL quarterback Byron Leftwich.