ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- One of Michael Jordan's better games of the
season wasn't enough to overcome a terrific performance from a
Jordan had 21 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in his
final regular-season appearance in Orlando, but Tracy McGrady
scored 32 points as the Magic won for the fifth time in six games
by beating the Washington Wizards 112-95 Monday night.
"T-Mac came and he started guarding me and I started guarding
him, so right there it was a challenge,'' Jordan said. "I enjoyed
it, I'm pretty sure he did, and we competed hard.''
Jordan told as much to McGrady though a unique message that will
give the league's leading scorer a head start in filling the
retiring superstar's shoes. As he exited the arena, McGrady held a
pair of autographed Air Jordans that read, "Enjoyed the challenge.
Good luck and stay healthy.''
"I might look at these shoes every day before I walk out of the
house,'' said McGrady, who scored 30 or more points for the 16th
time this season.
The Magic also got 21 points off the bench from Pat Garrity
while Mike Miller added 20 with seven rebounds. Darrell Armstrong
had eight points and 11 assists, leading the Magic's reserves to a
47-23 scoring edge over Washington's.
The Magic shot 52.6 percent and scored 44 points in the paint
for their best offensive output in a month.
"We tried to take away their inside game, we tried to force
them to take shots moving, not to let them stand still,'' Jordan
said. "They surround T-Mac with four great shooters, you try to
take penetration away from him and force those guys to make big
shots. Tonight, they made them.''
Jerry Stackhouse scored 18 points but made just 4 of 15 shots
for the Wizards, who have dropped four of their last five.
Washington shot 48.5 percent, but turned the ball over 19 times and
was outrebounded 38-27.
Holding the Wizards under 100 points won the Magic two days off,
courtesy of a bet coach Doc Rivers offered the team during a break
in the action during the third quarter.
"Boy, everybody's eyes lit up,'' Armstrong said. "Two days
off, with the Citrus Bowl in town.''
Jordan was quiet early after receiving a brief but loud standing
ovation during pregame introductions. His first points came on a
jumper with 10:26 left before halftime.
Those were the first of eight straight points for Jordan, six on
fadeaways from the right wing, as Washington cut its deficit to
But Orlando then took off on a 13-2 run, with McGrady and
Garrity each scoring five points, to establish a 14-point lead.
From there, Washington could never cut the deficit to less than six
Jordan didn't have many highlights in the second half, aside
from a breakaway dunk that brought the Wizards within 60-54.
The worst moment came when Armstrong stripped him of the ball --
just like Nick Anderson did in Game 1 of the 1995 conference finals
-- for a fast-break three-point play by Garrity. That gave Orlando
an 88-74 lead with 10:28 remaining.
For seventh time this season, the Magic were without Grant Hill
because of chronic tendinitis in his left ankle.
The team will consult with medical specialists this week to find
"a light at the end of the tunnel,'' general manager John Gabriel
The Magic received a brief scare in the first period when
McGrady hobbled to the locker room after rolling an ankle when he
collided with teammate Jacque Vaughn. But he missed less than two
minutes of action, and scored 10 points in the quarter.
Orlando has won 12 of its last 15 meetings against
Washington, including 12 of the last 13 at home. ... The game was a
sellout, Orlando's third of the season and second for the Wizards.
The other full house came on Nov. 27, when the Magic played the Los
Angeles Lakers. ... Among the 17,283 in attendance were Tino
Martinez of the St. Louis Cardinals, and John Lynch, Ronde Barber
and Brad Johnson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. ... The Magic broke a
four-game losing streak on Mondays. ... Monday was the 12th
anniversary of Scott Skiles' NBA-record 30-assist game. Skiles'
passing helped the Magic score a franchise-best 155 points in a
39-point win over the Denver Nuggets.