Magic Classic Wins: T-Mac's 44-Point Night vs. Philly

Fox Sports Florida will broadcast this win on Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. ET
McGrady and Iverson
by John Denton

ORLANDO -Much of the excitement that came in July of 2000 following the Orlando Magic’s free-agent signings of Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill flattened out when Hill was lost for the entirety of that season because of a debilitating injury to his left ankle.

That meant that McGrady, who was but a rising star at the time, would be asked to keep the Magic afloat and often would be needed to single-handedly carry the squad through various rough patches.

Never did McGrady do a better job of that than March 28, 2001 – a night when the then-21-year-old guard did everything in his power to ensure success for the Magic.

McGrady, a native of nearby-Bartow who would eventually carve out a Hall of Fame career in the NBA, scored 44 points and hit the game-winning shot with 2.7 seconds remaining as the Magic toppled Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers 96-95 late in the 2000-01 season. To put McGrady’s contributions into context that night, his scoring total (44 points) was greater than that of all his other Magic teammates that night (37 points).

With the 2019-20 NBA season suspended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, Fox Sports Florida has used much of April, May and June to show select classic games from the Magic’s glorious, 31-year history. After showing Orlando’s runs to the 1995 and 2009 NBA Finals, Fox Sports Florida will be shifting its focus to McGrady’s electrifying four-year run in a Magic uniform from 2000-04. Throughout this week, Fox Sports Florida will be showing three of the best games in McGrady’s Magic career, starting with his 2001 masterpiece against the 76ers on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Fox Sports Florida will also show McGrady’s 41-point performance from Christmas Day in 2003 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday at 7 p.m. McGrady’s 62-point epic against the Washington Wizards from March 10, 2004 – still a Magic record for points in a game – will be shown Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Fans in Philadelphia on March 28, 2001 had to know that they were in for a showcase what with McGrady and Iverson squaring off. That season, Iverson won the NBA MVP award after averaging 31.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and a league-best 2.5 steals a night for a Sixers’ squad that reached the NBA Finals. As for McGrady, he averaged 26.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocked shots in his first season with the Magic – one that ended with McGrady pumping in 33.8 points a game in a four-game playoff series loss to Milwaukee.

That March night in 2001, Philadelphia led by six at the end of the first period and by seven at the half before the Magic ripped off a 30-12 third-quarter performance. While McGrady was scoring 11 points and handing out four assists in that lopsided third quarter, Philadelphia hit on just four of 16 shots and Iverson committed four of his 10 turnovers in the 12-minute stretch just after halftime.

Darrell Armstrong (14 points, six assists and four steals) and Mike Miller (13 points, four rebounds and two 3-pointers) were the only other Magic players in double figures that night, allowing Philadelphia to stay within striking distance.

The 76ers would rally in the fourth period and Iverson capped his 37-point, four-assist and three-steal night with a jumper that put Philadelphia ahead by one with 7.6 seconds remaining.

Not to be outdone, McGrady responded with the game-winner with 2.7 seconds remaining. His final line from that night – 44 points, nine rebounds and six assists while making 18 of 35 shots over 44 minutes – would speak to just how much McGrady had to almost single-handedly carry those Magic teams because of the injury loss to Hill. In his four seasons with the Magic – most of which took place with either Hill hobbled or out completely – McGrady would become a four-time All-NBA performer, a four-time NBA All-Star and a two-time NBA scoring champ.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

FOX SPORTS FLORIDA MAGIC CLASSIC WINS SCHEDULE

DAY

DATE

TIME

MATCHUP

NOTES

REPLAY

Thu

6/4/20

7 PM

Magic at 76ers (3/28/01)

McGrady scores 44 points in a back-and-forth battle with Allen Iverson.

June, 6 at 3 PM

Fri

6/5/20

7 PM

Cavs vs. Magic (12/25/03)

On Christmas Day, McGrady scores 41 points in a head-to-head matchup with LeBron James.

June, 6 at 5:30 PM

Sat

6/6/20

7:30 PM

Wizards vs. Magic (3/10/04)

McGrady scores a team-record 62 points

June, 7 at 7 PM

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