McGrady netted 38 points, breaking his own franchise record by scoring at least 30 for the eighth consecutive game. He will be back at Philips Arena next Sunday, starting for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game.
“McGrady had a great game,” Hawks coach Terry Stotts said. “He was terrific in both halves, but we made him work hard. I was proud of the way the team withstood their comeback.”
None of McGrady’s teammates were able to reach double figures until Mike Miller made a layup with 12 seconds left as the Magic’s three-game winning streak against the Hawks was snapped.
“I tried to do everything in my power to keep us in the game,” McGrady said. “I had to take 37 shots even to keep us close. I’ll take 40 if I have to. I didn’t have that much left in the tank at the end. It’s tough when the guys aren’t knocking them down. Everything just falls back on me.”
The Magic were trailing by 12 in the third quarter when they embarked on a 14-2 run. Shawn Kemp, who grabbed 14 rebounds, made his first basket with 2:51 left in the period to cap the burst and knot the contest at 60-60.
However, Atlanta used an 11-4 surge, around the ejection of Orlando coach Doc Rivers, to grab a 71-64 lead after 36 minutes.
“I just tried to be active,” Ratliff said. “We knew Tracy would be coming off and shooting that jump shot. I was just trying to jump it hard. I made a conscious effort to make them shoot jump shots.”
Atlanta led by as many as 17 points in the first half. But Pat Garrity hit a jumper to spark Orlando’s 14-2 run during a 4 1/2-minute span in the third.
Jacque Vaughn made a pair of baskets around one of McGrady’s five 3-pointers, slicing the Magic’s deficit to three.
Orlando trailed, 60-56, when McGrady and Kemp nailed back-to-back jumpers to tie it.
“As long as I’m capable of keeping the game close, I know someone on this team is going to start knocking down shots,” McGrady said.
But someone never stepped up and Orlando never led.
Mohammed’s follow restored Atlanta’s lead.
After Abdur-Rahim and Garrity exchanged baskets, Glover hit from the arc to make it 67-62 with 49 seconds remaining.
“I was just trying to take advantage of the double-teams,” said Glover, who had five assists and two steals. “I knew they would try and double-team Reef (Abdur-Rahim). I’m just trying to be another playmaker for Shareef and ‘Big Dog’ (Robinson).”
“I thought that was one of Dion’s better games, as far as letting the offense come to him,” Stotts said. “The shots he hit were open, rhythm shots. He let the game be easy for him.”
McGrady converted a pair of free throws. Then, with 17.5 seconds to go, official Ted Bernhardt whistled Vaughn for a foul, Rivers complained and Bernhardt gave him two quick technical fouls, ejecting the former Hawks guard.
“There was still a lot of time left,” Rivers said. “If that is what lost the game for us, we’re in a lot of trouble. I thought the team needed a jolt.”
Jason Terry made all four free throws off the technicals to open a 71-64 cushion for Atlanta, which won for the fifth time in six games.