Like Magic, McGrady's 62 Make Wizards Disappear
Magic 108, Wizards 99
By Steve Wyche
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 11, 2004; Page D01
ORLANDO, March 10 -- With the injury-depleted Washington Wizards' woeful season growing uglier by the game, Orlando Magic all-star guard Tracy McGrady piled on Wednesday night by scoring a career and NBA season-high 62 points in a 108-99 victory over Washington at TD Waterhouse Centre.
His historic evening came against a Washington team that ended the game with just eight healthy players as starting forwards Kwame Brown (sprained left ankle) and Jarvis Hayes (strained left hamstring) didn't even suit up and starting guard Juan Dixon sprained his right ankle on the first play of the game.
McGrady, just the third NBA player in the last 11 years to score at least 62, became the first player to surpass the 60-point mark since Shaquille O'Neal scored 61 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on March 6, 2000. David Robinson scored 74 points against the Clippers, April 24, 1994 and Michael Jordan scored 63 against Orlando Jan. 16, 1993.
"This was a big night for me personally because its been a long season. Its been a frustrating season and especially for me because I'm a fierce competitor," McGrady said. "You know I like to win. I hate losing and things just weren't going our way this year, not being able to play in the playoffs. I set a personal goal for myself and that was to lead the league in scoring for my second consecutive year. This will give me a little boost."
McGrady also registered a franchise scoring high, eclipsing O'Neal's team record of 53 points set against Minnesota in 1994, and entered Washington's record book with the most points scored against the team in franchise history, surpassing Jordan's 57-point effort Dec. 23, 1992.
"My teammates came to me and told me 'Get 60'," McGrady said. "Then they told me 'Get 70.' I was going for 70; if I would've made my free throws I would have had it."
McGrady, who averaged 41 points in four victories against the Wizards this season, scored at least 50 against the Wizards for the second time in the past two years.
"He was really knocking shots down even out of double teams," Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan said. "He's good off the ball, getting the ball and scoring. He's good with the ball, using screen and rolls. He had it going."
McGrady's monster game (20-for-37 from the field, 5-for-14 from 3-point range, 17 of 26 from the free throw line, 46 minutes, 10 rebounds, 5 assists) overshadowed a season-high 40 points scored by Washington's Gilbert Arenas, who fell one point shy of tying the career-high 41 points he scored against the Wizards last season, when he was a member of the Golden State Warriors.
The thrilling game within the game between Arenas and McGrady provided some measure of entertainment for two teams trying to finish out the season with some semblance of dignity before restocking their rosters in the draft lottery.
"I was just trying to keep up with him," said Arenas, who made 15 of 33 shots. "Once he got rolling, it was hard to stop him. But we were still in the game down by nine, down by 10, just couldn't get over the hump, especially short-manned. We were trying to get over that, too."
The loss by Washington (20-43) to the Magic, which boasts the NBA's second-worst record (19-48), was its fourth straight.
McGrady got going in the second quarter, scoring 17 of Orlando's first 19 points in the period that left it with a 34-22 lead. He finished the quarter with 21 and Orlando went into halftime up, 49-40. That deficit, combined with McGrady's unrelenting offense, were too much for the Wizards to overcome, even though they stayed within striking distance until McGrady ripped off 10 fourth-quarter points.
He was so hot that he banked in a half-court shot midway through the fourth quarter, but it was waved off because he was fouled just before the shot.
"Usually when I have big games like this and I'm hitting shots, I show emotion," McGrady said. "Tonight there was no emotion. Its been that kind of year, it's very frustrating."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
Tracy McGrady scores a career-high 62 points to lead the Magic to a 108-99 victory over the Wizards, overshadowing a season-high 40 points scored by Washington guard Gilbert Arenas.
(Peter Cosgrove - AP)
ORLANDO, March 10 -- Washington Wizards small forward Jerry Stackhouse has responded well to rest and physical therapy to his surgically repaired right knee and his tendinitis-stricken ankles and he could resume practice or playing in the next few days, according to President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld.
Stackhouse did not travel with the team to Orlando for Wednesday's game with the Magic but the possibility remained that he could join the team in Atlanta Thursday for practice. It is not believed that Stackhouse would play in a game without first practicing, however, with Jarvis Hayes (hamstring) and Jared Jeffries (knee) hurt, Stackhouse could be forced into action if he is healthy. He has not been ruled out of playing against the Hawks Friday or against Boston on Saturday at MCI Center.
Grunfeld said the inflammation in Stackhouse's ankles have diminished after originally surfacing during the 12 games he was able to play after missing the first 45 games following a preseason operation to repair damaged lining under his kneecap. However, the inactivity has hurt Stackhouse's stamina. He last played in a 122-110 loss to the Lakers on Feb. 28. . . .
The Wizards plan to play in the Orlando summer league, as well as the Boston summer league this year, Grunfeld said. For years Washington played exclusively in the Boston summer league. The Orlando summer league typically is the first in which games are played. . . .
With just nine healthy players for Wednesday's game with the Magic, the Wizards contemplated signing someone to a 10-day contract, but that is unlikely because one of the players on the active roster would have to be placed on the injured list, requiring that player to miss five games.
Coach Eddie Jordan said he does not think any of the players on the active roster are injured enough to miss five games.
-- Steve Wyche