Magic stops Hornets' buzz

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2002

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tracy McGrady couldn't have felt any better. His back barely bothered him and the Orlando Magic evened their playoff series with the Charlotte Hornets.

McGrady scored 31 points, but only four after the third quarter, to lead the Magic to a 111-103 overtime victory over Charlotte in Game 2 of their best-of-five opening-round series on Tuesday night.

Game 3 is Saturday in Orlando, where McGrady believes the Magic can wrap up the series.

''I think everything is in our favor right now,'' he said. ''We have home-court advantage now and hopefully we can close this thing out at home.

''We certainly feel real good about our chances now.''

And he felt fine about his lower back strain, which he insisted didn't bother him even though he wasn't productive with the game on the line.

''It felt fine as the game went on,'' he said. ''We just played our game, kept our composure, and blocked everything out.''

McGrady was strong early while helping Orlando to a 17-point lead. But when the game got tight, so did his back and his shot suffered with it.

He scored only four points in the fourth quarter, all on free throws, and missed a chance to win the game in regulation when his jumper didn't even graze the rim at the buzzer.

So teammates Pat Garrity and Troy Hudson took over in the extra period.

Garrity hit a 3-pointer to give the Magic a 102-99 lead, and after four Charlotte misses, Hudson scored on a jumper and made five free throws to seal the win and help Orlando snap its 11-game losing streak in road playoff games.

McGrady finished 11-of-23 from the field and had 11 rebounds and seven assists. Hudson finished with 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting and Garrity had 18 points.

''Everyone did a great job of getting us involved,'' Garrity said. ''Tracy, even when he's only feeling 50 percent, is still going to score 20. But the rest of us, we need to step up and help out. Troy really did his part and I tried, too.''

Elden Campbell led the Hornets with 27 points, while David Wesley added 24 and Baron Davis, suffering a reoccurrence of back spasms that bothered him late in the regular season, had 11.

''Baron was really hurting and he didn't play his normal game,'' Hornets coach Paul Silas said. ''He couldn't explode to the hoop, his shot was off, he was hurting defensively.''

And the Hornets were again without leading scorer Jamal Mashburn, who was hospitalized before the game for treatment of a mild case of anemia and B-12 deficiency.

Mashburn, who first felt ill early in Game 1, was hospitalized for the second time because he couldn't shake what was believed to be a virus. Tests discovered the anemia and Mashburn was held overnight as doctors tried to replenish his fluids and cut off acid to his stomach.

It meant the Hornets would again be without his 21.5 points a game and would have to rely on the combination of Lee Nailon and George Lynch to fill in.

Jazz 93, Kings 86

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Vlade Divac should have known better. The Utah Jazz are ageless, resourceful and supremely tough -- anything, in fact, but done.

Donyell Marshall had 19 points and eight rebounds, and Karl Malone had 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Jazz shocked the top-seeded Sacramento Kings 93-86 Tuesday night, evening their contentious playoff series at one game apiece.

Andrei Kirilenko scored 15 points and blocked five shots as the Jazz ran out to a big lead during a horrible first-half performance by Sacramento. Utah then held off the Kings' last rallies to snap a seven-game losing streak against the Pacific Division champion Kings.

After Sacramento eked out a three-point win in Game 1, Kings center Divac said he thought the Jazz were ''done'' after taking their best shot at the NBA's regular-season champions.

Instead, the Kings appeared to be finished with anything resembling their regular style of play. With almost no fast break and a terrible game from All-Star Peja Stojakovic, the Kings shot 30 percent in the first three quarters, then never caught up to the Jazz after falling behind by 18.

Game 3 isn't until Saturday in Salt Lake City, leaving the Kings four days to stew in the memories of two dismal performances in their first playoff series as a No. 1 seed.

Sacramento, which had an NBA-best 36 home victories in the regular season, lost at Arco Arena for just the sixth time all season.

The game was a slow, full-contact affair with 63 fouls -- just the way Utah likes it against a more athletic opponent. Chris Webber scored 18 points and Divac had 21, but they both spent the night in foul trouble, with Divac fouling out with 5 minutes left.

Utah led by 17 shortly before the third quarter ended, but Sacramento finally sprung to life with a 23-10 run. But John Stockton, who had 13 points and 12 assists, made four straight free throws as the Kings never got over the hump in the closing minutes.

Stojakovic, the Kings' second-leading scorer, had 16 points on 6-of-18 shooting, with several airballs to his credit. He couldn't do much against Kirilenko, Utah's talented rookie who swooped in for several blocked shots behind the play.

Bryon Russell had 12 points for the Jazz, who won despite being just as bad as Sacramento in an ugly first quarter. Utah has never won a playoff series in which it went down 0-2.

Sacramento won Game 1 in spite of playing at Utah's favored pace. The Jazz again imposed their will on the Kings, though Sacramento couldn't buy a basket at any tempo in the first half.

After Arco Arena's hyperbolic pregame ceremonies, the teams played the most bizarre quarter of basketball seen in the building this season. Every player was off from the opening tip, with Utah missing nine of its first 10 shots and Sacramento missing nine of 11; moments later, both were 4-for-17 from the field.

The Kings scored five points in the first 10 minutes -- and as the bricks piled up and the officials called the game closely, both teams got ill-tempered.

Webber left with his second foul less than six minutes in, and moments later, Malone got a flagrant foul for leveling Christie on a layup attempt. Both players then got technical fouls in the ensuing shoving match.

Utah finished the quarter leading 15-14 despite making just four shots. The Jazz picked it up in the second quarter, but the Kings continued to flounder. Point guard Mike Bibby was benched for Bobby Jackson in the second half, and Hedo Turkoglu was pulled after going 1-for-8.

The Kings' famed fast break was short-circuited by the cautious Jazz and their own poor rebounding, and 11-of-41 shooting -- 1-for-13 on 3-pointers -- left Sacramento at a stunning 44-29 halftime deficit.

Smatterings of boos followed the Kings to the locker room, and with good reason: Sacramento hadn't scored fewer than 39 points in any first half this season.

Notes: Russell fouled out with 3:04 left. Greg Ostertag followed him moments later. ... Broadcaster Mike Fratello, injured in an auto accident last week, returned to the booth. ... Continuing a proud Utah-Sacramento tradition, fans rang huge cowbells behind the Jazz's bench at every timeout. Delta Center fans will return the favor on Saturday.



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