ATLANTA (AP)—Shareef Abdur-Rahim has discovered the best way to block out trade rumors—just keep winning.
“The game is an emotional game,” he said. “Even if I’m not showing it, I’m fired up inside.”
McGrady broke the team record he set earlier this season with his eighth straight game of at least 30 points, but the NBA’s leading scorer missed his last three shots after his 3-pointer cut the Hawks’ lead to 82-76 with 4:44 remaining.
“I didn’t have that much left in the tank at the end,” McGrady said. “If we had had someone rolling, I would have come out of the game.”
Atlanta, winning for the fifth time in six games, has won three in a row for the first time since Nov. 12-18. Hawks center Theo Ratliff tied a career high with nine blocked shots, the last of which came with 6:05 remaining and led to Abdur-Rahim’s hard dunk over Andrew DeClercq, which made it 80-73.
“Myself, I get more excited when I see a guy like Theo block a shot, somebody taking charge of the basketball, something like that, than I do for me dunking,” Abdur-Rahim said.
The Hawks have struggled all season and carry a 19-29 record into Miami for their final game before the All-Star break. Most of the players on the roster have been the subject of trade rumors since Terry Stotts was named head coach after Lon Kruger was fired Dec. 26.
“I was proud of the way the team withstood their comeback,” said Stotts, who improved to 8-13 since taking over. “We managed to hold the lead the whole time. I thought we played well offensively and didn’t let the frustration end up hurting us at either end of the court.”
The Magic, who have lost four of five overall, never had the lead. Orlando tied it at 62 on Shawn Kemp’s 20-footer with 2:51 left in the third quarter, but Nazr Mohammed’s 8-footer put the Hawks up 73-64 early in the fourth.
Abdur-Rahim, Glover and Mohammed each had 10 rebounds for Atlanta. Glover’s 19-footer from the right wing with 1:54 remaining gave the Hawks their last 10-point lead before Mike Miller’s three-point play made it 92-87 a minute later.
The Magic shot only 8-of-31 on 3-pointers, including a combined 2-for-12 effort by Miller and Pat Garrity. Miller, Garrity and Kemp were a combined 0-for-11 on first-half attempts from the floor.
“It’s tough when the guys aren’t knocking them down,” McGrady said. “Everything just falls back on me.”
Orlando coach Doc Rivers tried to fire up his team when he was ejected late in the third quarter for arguing with referee Ted Bernhardt.
“I thought the team needed a jolt,” Rivers said. “If that’s what lost the game for us, we’re in a lot of trouble.”
Atlanta’s largest lead was 17, first on Abdur-Rahim’s 14-footer late in the second and then on Jason Terry’s 18-footer in the final minute of period.
“I think we’re coming together,” Glover said. “Defensively is where we’redoing it. When Theo’s playing `D’ like he played today, we’ll win a lot.”
Corey Benjamin signed his second 10-day contract with Atlanta. … McGrady scored at least 30 points in seven straight games from Nov. 10-20, breaking Shaquille O’Neal’s franchise record of five straight from Jan. 15-22, 1994. … The announced crowd of 18,223 was the largest of the season at Philips Arena. … Atlanta improved to 7-1 at home when the crowd is 15,000 ormore. … Glover set season highs in points and rebounds.