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T-Mac, Gooden, Bogans in double figures

12/18/2003

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Orlando Magic had a horrendous start to
the season, including a 19-game losing streak that got their coach
fired.

None of that mattered Wednesday night against the Eastern
Conference-leading Indiana Pacers.

Rod Strickland's jump shot with 14.4 seconds left lifted the
Magic to a 94-90 win over the cold-shooting Pacers.

"This was a tremendous win and a building block for our team,"
said Orlando coach Johnny Davis, who replaced the fired Doc Rivers
on Nov. 17. "We were able to come in and beat a quality team like
Indiana on the road."

The Pacers had plenty of chances, but Al Harrington missed their
last one -- a wide-open jumper from the left wing with seven seconds
remaining that would have given Indiana the lead.

"I'd run that play again," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.
"Al's made some big shots for this team and will make some big
shots."

Keith Bogans grabbed the loose ball, was fouled and made one
free throw. Drew Gooden slipped into the lane to get the rebound of
Bogans' missed second free throw and was fouled. He made two free
throws with 4.6 seconds left to ice the game.

Tracy McGrady scored 21 points and had 11 assists to lead five
Orlando players in double figures. It was the fourth win in the
last six games for the Magic, who started the season 1-19.

"That was a total team victory for us," Davis said. "We
attacked the entire night."

On this night, it was the Magic and not the Pacers, who
displayed the balanced attack. McGrady, the second-leading scorer
in the NBA, was forced to look for teammates on many occasions
thanks to pesky defense from Ron Artest.

His teammates came through. Juwan Howard had 19 points and seven
rebounds, Gooden had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Bogans had 15
and 12 for the Magic.

"They executed, they made plays the entire game," Carlisle
said. "They were able to make one more play than we could make."

Jermaine O'Neal had 24 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks for
the Pacers, but did most of his damage in the first half, while
Indiana struggled offensively.

In the opening half, the Pacers looked like the team who entered
4-21, not the top team in the East. Indiana shot just 29 percent to
fall behind 45-39.

O'Neal kept them in the game, dominating inside with 16 points
and 10 rebounds.

He didn't get as many touches in the second half, however, as
the Pacers tried to mount a comeback.

The Magic simply had an answer for every run the Pacers threw at
them.

"We learned a lot from losing like we did," Bogans said.
"This is a big win."

When Artest stole the ball and dunked in the third quarter,
McGrady responded with a 3-pointer and then a dunk to push the lead
back to 66-55.

It was more of the same in the fourth period. When Harrington
got a tip-in to bring Indiana within three, McGrady responded with
a 3-pointer.

Austin Croshere made a 3-pointer from the corner that tied the
game at 83, then Strickland hit a 3-pointer and Bogans a long
jumper to put Orlando back in front 88-83.

"We pecked away and pecked away all night and we almost won,"
Pacers guard Kenny Anderson said. "But almost isn't good enough."

Bogans, who came into the game shooting 30 percent from the
field and was 1-of-18 from 3-point range, was 6-for-6, including a
big 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter that gave Orlando a
six-point lead.

"My teammates told me to keep my head up and my opportunity
will come," Bogans said. "Tonight it did. My teammates have
confidence in me to make the big play."

The Pacers took a 90-89 lead on a scoop shot from Artest, but
Strickland responded with his jumper to quiet the crowd.

Artest had 18 points and four steals for Indiana.

Game Notes: O'Neal and McGrady are close friends. On Tuesday, O'Neal was
asked what he could do to help stop the prolific scorer. "Take him
out (to dinner) and get him full," he said, smiling. "You got to
know what to do outside the gym." ... Magic guard Tyronn Lue
missed his third straight game with a strained hip flexor. ...
Carlisle was issued a technical foul for arguing with referee Derek
Richardson late in the second quarter. ... Pacers G Reggie Miller
scored three points, leaving him six shy of Charles Barkley for
14th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Miller has scored 23,752
points.