CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 23 (Ticker) --
Facing a 1-2-2 zone, the Orlando Magic beat it with threes.
Tracy McGrady led six Magic players in double figures.
Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images
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scored 24 points and set up Mike Miller
and Pat Garrity
to fire away from outside as the Magic rolled to a 109-99 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
The Hornets faced a dilemma in trying to defend the 6-8 McGrady with 6-1 David Wesley
or 6-3 Baron Davis.
They tried the 1-2-2 matchup zone, hoping to give help to the smaller guards.
Operating from the low post, McGrady victimized the Hornets by passing to the perimeter to Miller and Garrity, both of whom made two 3-pointers in the first quarter. McGrady scored eight points as the Magic raced to a 34-21 lead.
"The zone worked to our advantage tonight," McGrady said. "We penetrated and kicked out, and it opened everything up."
"We mainly played zone in order to get away from the mismatches, but they found the seams and really made their shots," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "I thought our zone worked against their first team, but then Miller and Garrity came in and killed us."
Charlotte finally abandoned its junk defense late in the second quarter, but by that time it was too late. Orlando opened a 65-46 halftime advantage and led by as many as 22 points in the third quarter.
"What really helped us tonight was playing Minnesota back-to-back," Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "They play a lot of matchup zone, so those games really helped us practice for that defense. They probably thought we would not keep shooting as well as we were."
McGrady made 10-of-21 shots and added eight assists and seven rebounds. Miller and Garrity made five 3-pointers apiece and scored 21 and a season-high 19, respectively.
"If you shoot that well, it's tough to play a zone," said Miller, who was 5-of-8 from the arc. "It makes it easier for us as shooters. They stuck to it and we took advantage."
"They were packing in the zone and we got a lot of open looks," said Garrity, who also was 5-of-8 from 3-point range. "We really moved the ball and got good penetration. Tracy and Grant (Hill)
really got things started for us by penetrating and making the passes."
Hill and Horace Grant
scored 13 points each for Orlando, which shot 53 percent (40-of-76), including 11-of-22 from the arc.
Davis had 27 points and 10 assists and Elden Campbell
scored 23 points for the Hornets, who have lost four in a row at home for the first time since March 30-April 5, 1999.
The teams meet again Saturday in Orlando in the back end of the home-and-home series.
"I hope they play zone again tomorrow," McGrady said. "It's easy for Grant and I. All we have to do is penetrate and kick it out to our shooters."
"We'll probably have to change some matchups tomorrow," said Wesley, who returned after missing two games with an injury and scored 14 points.
Miller and Garrity kept firing away in the second quarter as they scored 10 points apiece to help Orlando open a 19-point lead at intermission.
"Playing (against) a zone is easy for us when guys like Tracy and Grant penetrate and kick, and then guys like Pat and I are able to knock down the shots," Miller said.
"As long as they were going to stay in the zone, we were going to keep doing what we were doing," Garrity added.
The Hornets went to a man-to-man defense in the third quarter, but the Magic opened their largest lead at 75-53 on a driving layup by Hill with 6:39 remaining. Orlando still held a 91-71 lead when Davis threw in a 50-foot banker at the buzzer.
Charlotte built some momentum off that and closed to 91-82 on a layup by Wesley with 10:06 to play. McGrady had a pair of hoops as Orlando rebuilt the lead to 99-86 with 7:22 remaining and led by at least eight points thereafter.
"I couldn't be happier with the effort," Silas said. "We played as hard as we have all year long."
contributed 10 points for the Magic. Jamaal Magloire
scored 13 off the bench for the Hornets, who shot 45 percent (40-of-89).