MIAMI (AP) -- From the opening tip, it was obvious that this was
going to be Tracy McGrady's night.
McGrady made a career-high seven 3-pointers and scored 37 points
Sunday as the Orlando Magic won their fourth in a row, 96-74 over
the Miami Heat.
The tone was set early, as McGrady scored 21 in the first
quarter and had 32 at halftime. He finished 15-of-27 from the field
to go along with seven rebounds and five assists, helping the Magic
to their eighth win in 11 games.
"This might be the way that I play for the rest of the year,''
McGrady said. "Who knows how long? I don't know. The thing about
me is the unknown. You just don't know right now.''
McGrady got off to a torrid start, scoring the first seven
points for the Magic. He shot 8-of-13 in the period, including
5-of-7 from 3-point range. One of his 3-pointers hit the rim,
bounced off the top of the backboard and went back through.
McGrady has led the Magic in scoring in his last 40 games.
Sunday's performance gave him a a franchise record nine straight
games of 30-plus points. During that stretch, McGrady is averaging
just under 39 points per game.
"I'm on a tear,'' he said. "Ever since the All-Star break,
I've had a different approach to the game. I'm just coming out
mentally focused. I don't know what caused it.''
The Magic made 11 3-pointers, giving them 10 or more in five of
their last seven games.
McGrady took control early, rolling out top off screens to get
"He was shooting the ball so well,'' Orlando coach Doc Rivers
said. "In the second half, he got more people involved. It was an
unbelievable effort. One of the things we read in the paper was
that the Heat was going to send some help down low, so we sent Tracy out top. That's why he was able to hit so many threes.''
The Heat, who snapped a four-game losing streak on Friday night,
have lost nine of 11.
Miami had no defensive answer for McGrady, at times
double-teaming him, but often going with either of two rookies,
Caron or Rasual Butler.
"The guy was hot,'' Caron Butler said. "He made some tough
shots. All of them were contested. He's a great player. I was just
trying to break his rhythm, but he was in a zone. When a player
like that gets hot, it's hard to stop him.''
McGrady had 32 points at halftime as Orlando led 55-42.
The Magic put the game out of reach in the third quarter behind
a barrage of 3-pointers. McGrady, Giricek and Pat Garrity made
shots from beyond the arc as the lead swelled to 25. Orlando led
84-63 at the end of the period.
The Heat saw plenty of McGrady during the past week, getting
burned for 36 points in a loss on Wednesday.
"When you talk about the great players and who's the best, you
talk about McGrady, Kobe (Bryant) and Kevin Garnett,'' Heat center
Brian Grant said. "To me, Tracy's the best. I've always felt that
way. He can do it all. Kobe and Kevin are great players, but has
both of their games rolled into one.''
McGrady's 21 points were the most ever against the Heat in
a first quarter. ...Thinking he was fouled on a shot at the
first-quarter buzzer, McGrady argued and was hit with a technical
foul by referee Joe Forte ...Since acquiring forwards Drew Gooden
and Giricek at the trading deadline, the Magic are 11-4. ... The
Magic completed their first four-game season sweep of the Heat. ...
Miami G Mike James didn't dress after suffering a rib injury on
Friday. ... LaPhonso Ellis started for only the second time this
year for the Heat.