ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Tracy McGrady turned into a punter, earning
an ejection that provided the kick in the pants the rest of the
Orlando Magic needed.
McGrady was booted after twice kicking the ball into the stands,
but Juwan Howard scored 24 points and Drew Gooden had 16 points and
12 rebounds to help Orlando to a 102-98 victory over Denver on
Orlando, which was 0-8 this season when McGrady played less than
30 minutes, showed the same resiliency as the ball that rocketed
off McGrady's foot.
"I guess it got us hyped up and amped up to go out there and
play," Gooden said.
Gooden, with 10 points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter,
posted his 14th double-double of the season and first since Jan. 2.
His biggest basket came on a hook over Marcus Camby for a 95-92
lead with 45.6 seconds remaining.
On a night when he reached 10,000 career points, McGrady
finished with 15 -- his fewest since going scoreless on Dec. 19 when
he hurt his back in the first quarter.
"I could care less about 10,000 points," said McGrady, the
second-youngest player to reach that milestone. "I was frustrated,
so I had to get us going some way, whether it was getting a tech,
getting ejected, kicking balls out of the arena. It didn't
Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points, only four in the fourth
quarter. Nene had 15, while Camby added 12 points and 20 rebounds.
Denver had its three-game winning streak snapped.
McGrady stripped Anthony of the ball and drove the length of the
court for a layup that would've brought the Magic within 58-57
entering the break. But the shot was swatted away by Chris
Andersen, and the NBA's scoring leader ended up in a pile under the
basket with a look of disbelief on his face.
McGrady got up, took the ball and punted it deep into the
arena's lower bowl.
When a fan tossed the ball back on the court, it bounced right
to McGrady. Teammate Juwan Howard rushed to stop him, but McGrady
booted the ball again.
"Frustrated, man," McGrady said. "It was a lot of frustration
built up, the whole season, built up in me. I just let it out."
Two technical fouls were assessed, and the ejection ended
McGrady's streaks of 40-point games (two) and 20-point games (21).
Behind Gooden, the Magic's bench outscored the Nuggets' 44-17
and outrebounded them 37-4. Rod Strickland had 12 points, eight
rebounds and eight assists.
DeShawn Stevenson scored 10 points in his first game since being
acquired from Utah for guard Gordan Giricek. Even Desmond Penigar,
signed earlier in the day from the NBDL, contributed eight
"Both DeShawn and Desmond played terrific defense, gave us some
energy, played hard on the glass and made solid plays for us,"
coach Johnny Davis said.
Anthony, Nene and Camby scored all of the Nuggets' points in a
13-0 burst that put Denver ahead 15-3. The trio scored the Nuggets'
first 22 points, making 10 of 13 shots.
But in the second quarter, the Magic made 14 of 21 shots until
McGrady's final miss.
The Magic's other trading deadline acquisition, center Sean
Rooks, didn't arrive in time for the game. ... Denver also was
missing a reserve center. Michael Doleac, claimed off waivers
earlier in the day, had not yet joined the team. ... The youngest
player to reach 10,000 career points is Kobe Bryant. ... Orlando
center Steven Hunter sprained his right ankle midway through the
first quarter. ... A fan was ejected in the game's waning seconds
for attacking Orlando's mascot. After the fan got Stuff the Magic
Dragon in a headlock, it took five shots with a stun gun to get the
man under control, a team official said.