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McGradys magical, but Cavs win

Boozer has 23 points, 16 boards

Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2004

CLEVELAND - Tracy McGrady stopped himself. The Cleveland Cavaliers certainly couldn't contain him.

Rookie LeBron James scored 16 points in his first game back from a sprained ankle, and Juneau's Carlos Boozer had 23 points and 16 rebounds to help Cleveland withstand McGrady's shooting barrage for a 99-98 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.

McGrady tied an NBA record with eight 3-pointers in the first half, but Orlando's star guard played just five minutes after halftime because of a toe injury.

"There was no way to stop him," Cavs coach Paul Silas said.

McGrady decided not to risk hurting his toe worse, and benched himself with 6:32 left in the third quarter.

"I know myself," said McGrady, who scored 34 of his 36 points in the first half. "I made the decision myself. It's pretty disappointing. First, you have the LeBron-T.Mac matchup everyone is hyped to see. It was frustrating."

But although they didn't have McGrady, the Magic stayed with Cleveland in the second half and still had a chance to win it after Cavs forward Eric Williams missed two free throws with 7.5 seconds left.

But Rod Strickland shot an airball just before the horn sounded.

The Cavaliers, who went 2-1 while James was out with the injury, have won four of five and now have 16 victories - just one less than they had all last season.

"This win shows how much we have grown up this season," said Boozer, selected the Eastern Conference's Player of the Week on Monday. "The maturity is amazing."

James, who missed three games with his injury, added five rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes. But he sat the final 4:51 after forcing a couple shots. He didn't decide to play until just before tipoff.

"I thought I could make an impact by coming back," James said. "I didn't want to chance it and come back too soon. But I was confident I could play."

Dajuan Wagner scored a season-high 21 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavs, who had a season-low three turnovers.

McGrady made eight 3-pointers in the first 24 minutes, tying an NBA record for the most 3s in a half. He didn't miss from beyond the arc until he misfired just before the halftime buzzer.

However, he limped off the court midway through the third when he appeared to aggravate an injury that has been bothering him since a Jan. 21 game in Milwaukee.

"Somehow, some way, my foot got stubbed," McGrady said. "It hurt. I felt I couldn't go anymore."

Before he left, Orlando's shooting star dropped shot after shot - and jaws.

"He put on a show," said Boozer, one of four Cavaliers who tried to slow McGrady. "We tried everything. Everything! It didn't matter. It was an incredible performance."

Juwan Howard had 21 points and Shammond Williams 14 for the Magic, who built an 11-point lead in the third without McGrady.

Strickland's basket with 4:15 left put Orlando up 92-89, but Wagner stole the ball from him and Kevin Ollie fed Boozer for a dunk as the Cavs took a 93-92 lead with 3:28 left.

Howard's two free throws put the Magic back on top, but Eric Williams dropped a floater in the lane and sank two free throws before the Cavs survived a frantic final minute when both teams missed chances.

McGrady's sharpshooting tied him with Tim Thomas (2001), Michael Redd ('02), Ray Allen ('02) - all of the Milwaukee Bucks - and Kobe Bryant ('03) of the Los Angeles Lakers for the most 3s in one half.

Timberwolves 97, Nuggets 95

DENVER - Kevin Garnett had 31 points and 13 rebounds, and Latrell Sprewell tipped in a shot with 16 seconds left to lead Minnesota past Denver.

Sam Cassell added 22 points, and Sprewell 13 to help Minnesota push its winning streak to five games and extend Denver's losing streak to a season-worst three games.

Andre Miller had a triple-double for Denver with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Jazz 98, Clippers 93

SALT LAKE CITY - Carlos Arroyo scored 20 points and Greg Ostertag had a season-high 18 to help Utah snap a five-game losing streak.

Andrei Kirilenko returned from a sprained right ankle to score 13 points for Utah. Elton Brand led the Clippers with 18 points.

Bucks 93, Spurs 92

MILWAUKEE - Tim Duncan had an apparent winning dunk as time expired waved off after officials reviewed the play, giving Milwaukee a victory over San Antonio.

Replays showed Duncan still had the ball in his hand when the light atop the backboard was lit, signifying the game was over and giving the Bucks their 13th home win in 14 games.

Trail Blazers 94, Wizards 83

WASHINGTON - Damon Stoudamire hit six 3-pointers, accounting for all 18 of his points, and added a season-high 11 assists for Portland.

Rasheed Wallace and Zach Randolph added 16 points apiece for the Trail Blazers, who started a three-game road trip by winning for only the second time in eight games. Darius Miles scored 10 points, all in the first half, in his second game - and first start - since being traded from Cleveland last week.

Heat 95, Rockets 81

MIAMI - Miami's Stan Van Gundy pulled even in the first-year coaching rivalry with his younger brother, with Eddie Jones scoring 27 points and the Heat shooting 51 percent.

Houston's Jeff Van Gundy won the only other showdown between the siblings when the Rockets beat the Heat on Nov. 11.



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