Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/1

Game 1: Friday, November 1st
Game 2: Thursday, March 27th

Magic 110

(39-34, 24-14 home)

    7:00 PM ET, March 27, 2003

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 33 27 26 21107
    ORL 25 26 30 29110

    Top Performers

    Minnesota: K. Garnett 26 Pts, 14 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Orlando: T. McGrady 30 Pts, 4 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

    McGrady scores seven of his 30 points in final 3:54

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Tracy McGrady might have won over a few MVP voters with his 30-point, 10-assist performance against another candidate for the NBA's top award. Even better for the Orlando Magic, he helped them win another crucial game.

    Tracy McGrady, right, has to fight off Kevin Garnett for the loose ball.

    McGrady scored seven points in the final 3:54 and outdueled Minnesota's Kevin Garnett to help Orlando defeat the Timberwolves 110-107 Thursday night. The night before McGrady had 41 points and a key block to lead the Magic back from a 20-point deficit to beat New Orleans.

    "It seems like it's not going to stop here," said McGrady, who extended his streak of 30-point games to 12 despite being hounded by Garnett. "These two wins should really give us a lot of confidence for the remainder of the season."

    Orlando, which has won six of seven, has a half-game lead over idle Boston for the No. 6 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Magic (39-34) also moved a season-best five games over .500.

    Garnett had 26 points and 14 rebounds for his 20th double-double in his last 21 games. But he scored only nine points after halftime, worn out from defending the NBA's top scorer.

    "The mind is saying yes, but the body is saying something else," Garnett said.

    McGrady's two free throws with 24.4 seconds remaining put Orlando up 106-104 -- its first lead since 7-6 -- and capped a run of nine straight points in a span of 2:10.

    Garnett drew a foul on Minnesota's ensuing possession, but he missed one of two free throws with 17.2 seconds left. Darrell Armstrong then hit four foul shots in the final 15.6 seconds to seal the win. Armstrong scored eight of his 16 points in the final period, and he also drew a charge from Garnett with 1:15 remaining.

    "Great call! Absolutely the right call," Armstrong said of the play. "Shawn (Kemp) set him up by making him put the ball on the floor, and he ran right over me. That was the key play in the game."

    Orlando trailed by as many as nine in the fourth quarter and finished the game with a 13-3 run.

    "The team that made a defensive run was going to win the game," Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "We did that down the stretch."

    In the final 2:42, Minnesota missed five of six shots, to go with a turnover -- Garnett's charge. Those miscues led to the Timberwolves' first loss in five games.

    "We made some bonehead moves down the stretch and didn't execute," said Wally Szczerbiak, who had 22 points and eight rebounds. "You've got to execute in the final three minutes. Little plays here and there down the stretch are going to kill you."

    McGrady struggled early against Garnett's defense, missing six of eight shots in the first quarter while scoring just four points.

    He fared better as the game went on, partly because he was more aggressive driving to the basket, rather than settling for jumpers. But that also meant McGrady wasn't shooting 3s; he missed his first three before connecting with 1:29 left to tie the game at 104.

    Meanwhile, Garnett was almost unstoppable from inside and out, scoring 17 in the first half. The Magic had no answer for him in the paint, and he also drilled long jumpers with ease, making five of his last six tries in the half. He also went 5-for-5 from the line.

    Game notes
    Minnesota center Rasho Nesterovic missed his fifth straight game with a sprained ankle, but he's traveling with the team to Florida. Point guard Rod Strickland stayed home to continue treating his strained groin. ... Orlando power forward Drew Gooden's injured right big toe forced him to sit for the fifth consecutive game. ... The Magic's rally to beat New Orleans on Wednesday tied for the franchise's fourth-largest comeback. Orlando rallied from a 25-point hole to win at Cleveland on Nov. 8, 1989.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 107 110
    FGM-FGA 42-86 (.488) 41-77 (.532)
    3PM-3PA 5-17 (.294) 9-22 (.409)
    FTM-FTA 18-25 (.720) 19-26 (.731)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 19-43 8-32
    Assists 30 19
    Turnovers 13 15
    Steals 8 7
    Blocks 4 4
    Fast Break Points 5 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 22 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 26
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Tracy McGrady McGrady
    Points: 30
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 3