At long last
McGrady, Magic finally best Bucks 121-116 in OT
Updated: Sunday April 29, 2001 4:01 PM
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Tracy McGrady collected the NBA's Most Improved Player Award, then went out and showed why he deserved it.
McGrady had 42 points -- 21 in the fourth quarter and overtime -- as the Magic finally beat the Milwaukee Bucks, winning 121-116 Saturday night to stay alive in their playoff series.
"Right now, I'm so tired," said McGrady, who tied Orlando's playoff scoring record and added 10 assists and eight rebounds. "Fifty playoff minutes is a different sort of minutes. But it was either do or die."
Game 4 in the best-of-five series is Tuesday in Orlando.
The Magic had lost 11 consecutive games against Milwaukee.
"We finally got that big gorilla off our backs," Orlando head coach Doc Rivers said. "Now that we've beaten them, we know we can."
"We probably thought it was going to be easier that it was," Milwaukee head coach George Karl said. "I thought we took this game with a degree of complacency."
The Magic pulled out the victory after letting a 14-point lead slip away in the last five minutes of regulation.
Allen blamed "greedy basketball" for his team's deficit but said he was proud of the comeback.
"We started moving the ball; we started creating a defensive game out there for us, and we started playing like we played all year," said Allen, who sent the game into overtime on a thundering dunk over McGrady with 3.5 seconds left in regulation. "We were ready to turn it around, but unfortunately it wasn't enough."
Orlando finally found McGrady some offensive help, with Darrell Armstrong scoring 18 points and Pat Garrity 16.
"We talked about needing a hero today," Rivers said. "We have several of them."
The Magic appeared to have the game in hand leading 101-87 with 4:58 remaining, but Milwaukee rallied behind Allen and Glenn Robinson, held in check by McGrady most of the series.
Robinson's jumper with 35.7 seconds left gave the Bucks a 108-107 lead. Robinson had all seven of his fourth-quarter points in the final 2:15, and finished with 14.
McGrady's three-point play put the Magic ahead 110-108. Allen then tied it by driving past Armstrong and dunking over McGrady.
In overtime, McGrady capped off a 6-0 run with a leaner and a layin for a 119-114 lead with a minute to go.
McGrady shot 14-for-32 from the field and 14-for-18 on free throws to tie Penny Hardaway's franchise playoff scoring record, set against Miami in a 1997 first-round game.
Armstrong, who won the honor two years ago, presented McGrady with the Most Improved Player Award before the game.
Milwaukee had a chance to tie with less than five seconds remaining in the extra period, but Thomas missed a 3-pointer, and the Magic came up with the rebound.
Armstrong, who seemed to be recovered from a strained groin that's plagued him the last half of the season, then sealed the victory with a pair of free throws.
There was a chaotic moment midway through the third quarter.
Bo Outlaw and Scott Williams got tangled up going after a loose ball near the Magic bench, and then Cassell bumped Outlaw. Armstrong and Williams began to tangle, then McGrady and Robinson started jawing at each other.
No punches were thrown, but all six players were hit with technical fouls.
Starting with the next possession, Garrity briefly took over the game with 12 straight points as the Magic went from trailing by three to leading 69-63 with 3:51 left in the period.
The run started when Garrity was fouled on a 3-point attempt, and his free throws tied the game at 60.
He followed by making three consecutive 3-pointers, the last coming after he accidentally undercut Thomas, who fell hard to the floor. Thomas didn't move during the Bucks' ensuing timeout, but he got to his feet and jogged to the bench.
Orlando eventually went ahead 89-78 with 8:48 left on Dee Brown's 3-pointer. Nine of Brown's 12 points came in the fourth quarter.
Notes: The Bucks closed the first half on a 13-3 run to lead 50-44
at the break. ... Milwaukee last swept a playoff series in 1988,
eliminating New Jersey in the first round. ... Orlando has only
been swept in the first round once, in 1994 against Indiana.