It was McGrady's second regular-season game in Orlando after the
Magic traded him a year and a half ago, and the superstar was booed
each time he touched the ball.
"I've been out of Toronto five, six years and they still do the
same," McGrady said. "It doesn't bother me at all.
He started well, scoring 14 points in the first half, but began
missing shots and playing time in the second half after picking up
his fourth foul. McGrady got his fifth foul with 8:05 left in the
fourth quarter but didn't foul out.
As part of the NBA's Hardwood Classics events, the league
broadcast the game for the first time "silently" on NBA TV -- with
no announcers and enhanced on-court microphones to fill in sound.
Music from the 1970s was played during timeouts, with help from a
pep band and an organist. The Magic wore retro jerseys from their
inaugural 1989-90 season.
Grant Hill, starting just his second game in more than a month,
had 22 points, four rebounds and four assists for Orlando. Carlos
Arroyo added 17 points and five rebounds. Hedo Turkoglu had 10
points -- all in the fourth quarter.
"I'm hesitant to say this thing's behind me, but I have a
better understanding of it," Hill said of the sports hernia that
has kept him out most of this season.
Leading 44-39 at the half, Houston pulled away in the third
quarter with a 16-4 run, led by a hook shot, turnaround jumper and
several free throws from Yao.
The Rockets extended the lead to 20, 74-54, before Orlando used
a 22-6 run to close within four on Arroyo's two free throws with
1:51 left. Yao converted two free throws before Turkoglu hit a
3-pointer with 1:21 remaining to make it 82-79, but the Magic could
get no closer.
"I think we lose concentration at the end of the third quarter
and the start of the fourth quarter -- think the game is done," Yao
said. "In this league, nothing is easy."
Howard made a jumper and McGrady added two free throws to extend
the lead back to seven with 22 seconds left.
"When you get down 20 points to a team like Houston, it is
difficult because of the way they can control the tempo of the
game," Magic coach Brian Hill said.
It was the Magic's 13th loss in 15 games, and the Rockets' 10th
win in their last 12. Orlando had lost eight in a row before
beating Seattle at home Friday night.
Arroyo hit a Yao pick at the end of the game and was slow
getting off the court, but said he wasn't hurt. ... The Magic don't
play another home game until March 10 against Cleveland, starting a
five-game West Coast road trip Tuesday against the Lakers. ...
Gerald Fitch was with the Rockets but was inactive, three days
after being traded from the Miami Heat for Derek Anderson.