ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The word is out on Orlando's Tracy McGrady: Throw a zone defense at him, and he'll go silent.
Minnesota's Garnett always rises above the madding crowd.
Minnesota was the latest team to keep the NBA's defending
scoring champion in check, holding him to four points on 2-of-10
shooting in the Timberwolves' 100-71 victory over the slumping
Magic on Friday night.
"Right now, it's definitely working to the opponents'
advantage," McGrady said. "If I was another team, I'd do the same
Last season, McGrady averaged 32.1 points while shooting 46
percent, including 39 percent on 3-pointers. During Orlando's 0-5
homestand that just ended, he averaged 22 points on 37 percent
shooting -- 25 percent on 3s.
McGrady recently admitted that he's "clueless" about how to
attack zones, and the Timberwolves kept up the pressure. Swarmed by
double- and triple-teams every time he set foot in the paint,
McGrady was held scoreless in the first half on four missed shots
and two turnovers.
"I thought in the first half, he convinced himself that the
zone defense is a big, bad, evil guy," Magic coach Doc Rivers
McGrady didn't score until converting a putback with 6:47 left
in the third quarter. By then, the Timberwolves led by 21.
McGrady took himself out a little more than five minutes later.
"It took the first half for me to see where I could pick my
spots, at least try to drive and get some type of shots," said
McGrady, whose streak of double-digit scoring ended at 116. "Or,
if I couldn't get there, find somebody else."
Minnesota employed a 1-2-2 defense -- with 7-foot Kevin Garnett
at the top to disrupt passes to the elbow and post.
"We've been working on it for about three or four days, played
with it now and then," said Garnett, who had 21 points and 17
rebounds for his third double-double of the season. "But (coach)
Flip (Saunders) felt that tonight was the night, the perfect time
to come out and execute it."
While McGrady was struggling, so were his teammates. They shot
42 percent and missed 12 of 26 free throws en route to Orlando's
second-worst home loss in franchise history.
Only Tyronn Lue looked good. Taking advantage of the
Timberwolves' fixation on McGrady, he scored 25 points -- one short
of his career best.
"I'm going to keep putting the blame on me and not them,"
Rivers said. "I'm just going to keep plugging away and trying to
get this team to play. I think they want to do the right thing, and
I've got to get them to do the right thing."
Minnesota took control early, seizing a 47-38 lead with 3:37
left before halftime on Latrell Sprewell's three-point play. That capped a 14-3 run in which five players scored, and Orlando never
came closer than 14 again.
Juwan Howard hit the first shot of the second half to bring the
Magic to 53-39.
But Sprewell responded with a 3, kicking off a 14-4 run that put
the game away. His 3-pointer with 8:16 left in the quarter ended
the spurt and put Minnesota up 67-43.
Sprewell scored 22 points, shooting 7-for-15 and making all six
of his foul shots.
The Timberwolves took a 94-64 lead when Gary Trent hit a jumper
with 6:07 to play.
Orlando forward Pat Garrity, activated from the injured list
before the game, briefly brought some relief for the Magic's
offensive woes. Minnesota was forced to respect the sharpshooter's
presence, and Orlando made four straight shots after he entered
midway through the first quarter. He finished with two points in 17
Garrity is recovering from two offseason knee operations, and
this was his first fullcourt action since last season's playoffs.
Game Notes: The Magic's worst home loss was a 40-point defeat to
Detroit on Jan. 26, 1991. ... Dating to the preseason and last
season's playoffs, Orlando has lost its last 10 home games. ...
Orlando also activated guard Keith Bogans from the injured list.
The rookie from Kentucky had three points and seven rebounds in his
NBA debut. ... To make room on the roster, the Magic placed
swingman Gordan Giricek (arch) and forward Britton Johnsen (knee)
on the injured list. ... The 24-second shot clock malfunctioned on
Minnesota's first two possessions, halting a fast break each time.
... Orlando's Shammond Williams and Minnesota's Keith McLeod drew
technical fouls for a garbage-time shoving match.