Cavs see too much Magic in Smart's coaching debut

Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2003

CLEVELAND - Keith Smart watched from a new courtside seat, but saw a very familiar game.

Tracy McGrady scored 35 points and spoiled Smart's coaching debut with Cleveland, leading the Orlando Magic to a 103-94 win Tuesday night over the Cavaliers.

McGrady came in as the league's leading scorer at 30 points per game, and had matched that with 6:55 left in the third quarter with a pair of free throws.

At that point, McGrady had outscored the Cavs' starters 30-29. He had 33 points after three quarters, and Orlando coach Doc Rivers planned to rest his star before the Cavs rallied.

Cleveland got close with a late run but fell to an NBA-worst 8-35 with its fifth straight loss and first under Smart, who was hired as interim coach on Monday when Cleveland fired John Lucas.

"I was happy with the guys because they could have said, 'Here we go again', and rolled over," Smart said. "But they fought tonight. They didn't give up."

Zydrunas Ilgauskas led Cleveland with a career-high 35 points, but the Cavs, who have lost 11 of 13, didn't play much better with Smart calling the shots as they had with Lucas for the first 42 games this season.

Ricky Davis, Cleveland's leading scorer this season, had just 11 points - 11 below his average. Rookie power forward Carlos Boozer of Juneau, who had three double-doubles in his last four games, only took one shot from the field and finished with two points and eight rebounds.

"We're at the bottom of the barrel," said Cavs forward Darius Miles. "We can only go up. It takes time. We're a young team. Everyone just needs to calm down and relax."

Smart, whose only head coaching experience was in the CBA, admitted having some pregame jitters and felt his team - the NBA's youngest - was a little nervous, too.

"I was ready for this," he said. "To practice for just a day and a half, and a walkthrough, they did pretty good."

Kings 109, Nets 102

At Sacramento, Calif., Chris Webber had 36 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists and all five Kings starters scored in double figures in a win against New Jersey.

Peja Stojakovic scored 12 of his 26 points in the third quarter for the Kings, who improved to 18-2 at home. Mike Bibby added 13 points and 10 assists and Vlade Divac and Doug Christie each scored 11.

Jason Kidd led New Jersey with 27 points in another frustrating night for the Atlantic Division leaders against Sacramento. The Nets lost by 36 points at home to the Kings on Jan. 9.

Mavericks 107, Rockets 86

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 12 of his 26 points during a gamebreaking second quarter and Raef LaFrentz contained Yao Ming, helping Dallas end a three-game losing streak with a victory over listless Houston.

Returning home from a dismal West Coast trip, Dallas drilled its first four shots - all long jumpers - and led by 12 points early. Although Houston briefly went ahead, Nowitzki helped the Mavericks grab control by moving the offense down low.

Nowitzki rebounded from a scoreless first quarter to score eight of Dallas' first nine in the second, starting with a layup off a great spin move. The Mavericks went on to outscore the Rockets 29-13 in the quarter.

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