- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 31, 2002

ORLANDO, Fla. The road continues to be an unforgiving place for the Washington Wizards, and last night against the Orlando Magic a team that seemingly has a blueprint on how to beat them it proved no different as the Magic sent the Wizards to a 112-95 setback at TD Waterhouse Centre.
The Magic had three players finish with at least 20 points or more, led by Tracy McGrady's game-high 32, and they dictated tempo from the start in a game in which they never trailed.
The Magic got out to a quick start that saw them score six consecutive baskets, setting the tempo for a convincing victory.
"We knew they would try to do that," said Michael Jordan after scoring 21 points, handing out nine assists and grabbing eight rebounds in his final regular-season game here. "We knew they would come in with a quick start. I think the most important thing is to try to disrupt their rhythm early and we were not able to do that. And we found ourselves fighting an uphill battle.
"We got it to a point where we kind of controlled the tempo and were fighting ourselves back into the game. But it's so easy to get out of tempo against this team because they like to get in transition."
And last night they benefited from doing just that.
Mike Miller pitched in with 20 points, helping the Magic make 10 of 20 3-pointers by connecting on four of six of his own. However, more alarming was that Pat Garrity, averaging just less than 11 points a game, scored 21 off the bench.
Conversely, Washington's bench combined for 23 points. Overall the Magic got 47 points from their bench and pretty much dominated every other facet of the game.
Jerry Stackhouse added 18 points but was just 4-for-15 from the floor. Larry Hughes added 15 points but committed six turnovers.
Washington's latest beating at the hands of Orlando was of little surprise to anyone with an inkling of the history between these teams.
The loss marked the Wizards' 12th in the last 13 trips here, and it improved Orlando's home record to 22-6 against the Wizards (13-17). Orlando accomplished this without the services of forward Grant Hill, out last night and perhaps for the next two weeks with tendonitis in his right ankle.
The Magic (18-15) got a scare early in the game when McGrady had to leave momentarily after he became tangled up with teammate Darrell Armstrong while getting back on defense.
McGrady limped from the court and headed to the locker room in obvious pain.
But it wasn't long before McGrady returned to the court to a thunderous ovation and picked up where he left off, and by halftime the league's leading scorer had 19 points.
However, it was in the fourth quarter when McGrady showed his true worth when he went 4-for-4 from the floor for 11 points and the Magic as a team shot close 69 percent from the floor.
"What can you say other than he's a great player?" said Wizards coach Doug Collins. "He made shots when he had to and when his team needed them."
But he wasn't the only one.
The Magic shot 52.6 percent from the field for the game. And they dominated on the inside, where they scored 44 points in the paint compared to Washington's 22. And of the Wizards' 19 turnovers on the night, seven of them came in the fourth quarter.

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