CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 23 (Ticker) -- It's easy to see how Tracy McGrady developed a sore back. He's been carrying the Orlando Magic all season.

McGrady had 31 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and got some help this time as the Magic evened their Eastern Conference first-round series at one game each with a 111-103 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

"This was a statement game, man," McGrady said. "Without this win, we ain't going nowhere. All this talk about Charlotte is gonna do this and do that to Orlando ... we knew we could overcome that. We just had to make up our minds that we could beat this team. We need to go out and prove everybody wrong. It was a statement game that we could come in here and, if not get two, we were gonna get one."

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T-Mac scored 27 of his 31 points in the first three quarters to give the Magic a lead.
Garrett W. Ellwood
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Just 22 and one of the NBA's brightest stars, McGrady has been bothered by a sore back all season. He hobbled through an 80-79 loss in Game One, scoring 21 points but having the ball stripped from him on the final possession as he was unable to get to the rim with his usual explosiveness.

McGrady again clearly was hampered by the injury but played through it and lifted the Magic to their first postseason road victory in 12 tries since Game Three of the 1996 conference semifinals against Atlanta.

"We have to find a way to slow Tracy down," Hornets guard David Wesley said.

The All-Star swingman played 47 minutes, making 11-of-23 shots. He again was bothered a bit by the physical defense of Hornets forward George Lynch but got some help from a pair of teammates.

Reserve guard Troy Hudson scored 26 points, sparking a second-quarter surge that gave Orlando a 16-point lead. Forward Pat Garrity added 18 points as he rediscovered his shooting touch.

"I think I was just looking for my shot more," said Hudson, who made 10-of-18 shots. "I know that T-Mac needed some help in the scoring column. My teammates and coaching staff told me to be more aggressive."

"I was feeling good all night," said Garrity, who made 6-of-13 shots.

Together, Hudson and Garrity combined to score the first seven points of overtime. Garrity made a 3-pointer and Hudson made a lane jumper and two free throws for a 106-99 lead with 1:06 remaining.

"Our guys knocked down big shots and that's key for this club," McGrady said. "Troy and Darrell (Armstrong) penetrated, Pat knocked down big shots, and that really carried over to the defensive end."

The best-of-five series shifts to Orlando for Games Three and Four on Saturday and Tuesday.

"It's nice to have home court but we need to do something about it," Magic coach Doc Rivers said. "We know Charlotte had one of the better road records in the league and beat us twice in our own place."

"We are capable of beating them down there," Wesley said. "We have done it before."

Elden Campbell had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Hornets, who gave away home-court advantage and may have played its last game in Charlotte Coliseum. Just 10,323 were on hand to watch a team that likely will be moving to New Orleans for next season.

"No matter what happens now, we have to win, plain and simple," Campbell said. "There's no magical answers. We've just got to play ball like were capable and go from there."

The Hornets again were without leading scorer Jamal Mashburn, who was hospitalized during Game One and again for Game Two with mild anemia and vitamin deficiency. Late in the third quarter, All-Star guard Baron Davis suffered back spasms. He played through them but scored just 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

"You look at teams that are playing without their star like Toronto without Vince (Carter) and San Antonio without (David) Robinson and it's tough to win games," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "You can't miss key guys and expect to win this time of year."

"We need to get healthy. That would be a good start," said Wesley, who scored 24 points.

The Hornets trailed by 17 points in the third quarter but rallied after Silas put Lynch on McGrady. The defensive-minded forward also scored seven points as Charlotte stormed back within 77-75 entering the fourth period.

"They came out on a tear in the third quarter and their crowd was loud and crazy and really pumped a lot of energy into them," Garrity said. "Fortunately, we were able to withstand it."

Two free throws by Hudson and a 3-pointer by Garrity built Orlando's lead to 86-79 with 8:02 to go. The Magic still led, 89-84, after two free throws by McGrady with 6:28 left before the Hornets began to go inside.

Charlotte's frontcourt of Campbell, Lynch and P.J. Brown scored the team's last 17 points of the period. Brown scored all nine of his points in the final 4 1/2 minutes, including two free throws that provided a 97-97 tie with 29 seconds to play.

Davis tried for another big steal as he did in Game One but fouled Garrity, who made both free throws with 18 seconds left. Campbell backed in for a short banker that tied it with 4.4 seconds remaining, and McGrady missed a runner at the horn.

The overtime belonged to Orlando as Charlotte made just one meaningless basket in the final seconds.

Armstrong scored 13 points for Orlando, which shot 46 percent (39-of-85) and fought to a 46-46 stalemate on the boards. In Game One, it was outrebounded, 51-32.

Jamaal Magloire scored 10 points and Davis had 10 assists for Charlotte, which shot 42.5 percent (34-of-80).

The Magic led 27-26 after one quarter and McGrady headed to the bench and a special heated cushion. Hudson sparked Orlando by taking the ball to the basket rather than launching 3-pointers. His breakaway layup gave the Magic a 47-34 lead and they widened it to 62-47 at halftime.

"I thought him coming into the first (half) and hitting his first few shots really changed things," Rivers said. "He allowed Garrity to get off his shots. He was real big for us tonight."