Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/14

Game 1: Friday, November 14th
Game 2: Friday, February 20th

Nuggets 98


Magic 102

(15-42, 8-19 home)

    7:00 PM ET, February 20, 2004

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 32 26 22 1898
    ORL 22 33 24 23102

    Top Performers

    Den: C. Anthony 35 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Orl: J. Howard 24 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    McGrady second youngest to reach 10,000 points

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Tracy McGrady turned into a punter, earning an ejection that provided the kick in the pants the rest of the Orlando Magic needed.

    McGrady was booted after twice kicking the ball into the stands, but Juwan Howard scored 24 points and Drew Gooden had 16 points and 12 rebounds to help Orlando to a 102-98 victory over Denver on Friday night.

    Orlando, which was 0-8 this season when McGrady played less than 30 minutes, showed the same resiliency as the ball that rocketed off McGrady's foot.

    "I guess it got us hyped up and amped up to go out there and play," Gooden said.

    Gooden, with 10 points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter, posted his 14th double-double of the season and first since Jan. 2. His biggest basket came on a hook over Marcus Camby for a 95-92 lead with 45.6 seconds remaining.

    On a night when he reached 10,000 career points, McGrady finished with 15 -- his fewest since going scoreless on Dec. 19 when he hurt his back in the first quarter.

    "I could care less about 10,000 points," said McGrady, the second-youngest player to reach that milestone. "I was frustrated, so I had to get us going some way, whether it was getting a tech, getting ejected, kicking balls out of the arena. It didn't matter."

    Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points, only four in the fourth quarter. Nene had 15, while Camby added 12 points and 20 rebounds. Denver had its three-game winning streak snapped.

    McGrady stripped Anthony of the ball and drove the length of the court for a layup that would've brought the Magic within 58-57 entering the break. But the shot was swatted away by Chris Andersen, and the NBA's scoring leader ended up in a pile under the basket with a look of disbelief on his face.

    McGrady got up, took the ball and punted it deep into the arena's lower bowl.

    When a fan tossed the ball back on the court, it bounced right to McGrady. Teammate Juwan Howard rushed to stop him, but McGrady booted the ball again.

    "Frustrated, man," McGrady said. "It was a lot of frustration built up, the whole season, built up in me. I just let it out."

    Two technical fouls were assessed, and the ejection ended McGrady's streaks of 40-point games (two) and 20-point games (21).

    Behind Gooden, the Magic's bench outscored the Nuggets' 44-17 and outrebounded them 37-4. Rod Strickland had 12 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

    DeShawn Stevenson scored 10 points in his first game since being acquired from Utah for guard Gordan Giricek. Even Desmond Penigar, signed earlier in the day from the NBDL, contributed eight rebounds.

    "Both DeShawn and Desmond played terrific defense, gave us some energy, played hard on the glass and made solid plays for us," coach Johnny Davis said.

    Anthony, Nene and Camby scored all of the Nuggets' points in a 13-0 burst that put Denver ahead 15-3. The trio scored the Nuggets' first 22 points, making 10 of 13 shots.

    But in the second quarter, the Magic made 14 of 21 shots until McGrady's final miss.

    Game notes

    The Magic's other trading deadline acquisition, center Sean Rooks, didn't arrive in time for the game. ... Denver also was missing a reserve center. Michael Doleac, claimed off waivers earlier in the day, had not yet joined the team. ... The youngest player to reach 10,000 career points is Kobe Bryant. ... Orlando center Steven Hunter sprained his right ankle midway through the first quarter. ... A fan was ejected in the game's waning seconds for attacking Orlando's mascot. After the fan got Stuff the Magic Dragon in a headlock, it took five shots with a stun gun to get the man under control, a team official said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 98 102
    FGM-FGA 39-85 (.459) 43-92 (.467)
    3PM-3PA 2-11 (.182) 3-10 (.300)
    FTM-FTA 18-25 (.720) 13-29 (.448)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-40 21-57
    Assists 25 22
    Turnovers 12 13
    Steals 6 6
    Blocks 8 4
    Fast Break Points 10 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 22 (3/0)

    Top Performers

    Carmelo Anthony Anthony
    Points: 35
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Juwan Howard Howard
    Points: 24
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0