Orlando 110, Chicago 96

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ORLANDO, FLORIDA (TICKER) Tracy McGrady scored a career-high 52 points and overshadowed successful debuts by his new teammates to lead the Orlando Magic to a 110-96 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

McGrady, whose previous career best was 50 points last March 8 against Washington, reached that mark with 3:20 left in the third quarter. He had 33 points in the first half, including a thunderous one-handed dunk off a lob pass from Darrell Armstrong with 3:26 left in the second quarter.

“I was just feeling it tonight,” McGrady said. “When I get it rolling tonight, give me the ball because I’ll make a lot of things happen. I just felt like I couldn’t miss.”

The alley-oop gave the Magic a 49-44 lead. They built it to 63-52 at intermission, then pulled away in the third quarter as McGrady - the NBA’s leading scorer - collected 19 points on 5-of-12 shooting.

McGrady went to the bench for the fourth quarter and came within a point of Shaquille O’Neal’s team scoring record. He also finished a point short of the NBA season high, set Sunday by New York’s Allan Houston.

“I could still do more,” McGrady said. “But we’re professionals, the game was out of reach. Fans wanted me to go back at it, but it wasn’t professional.”

Rookies Drew Gooden and Gordan Giricek, acquired Wednesday in a trade that sent McGrady’s friend, Mike Miller, to Memphis, made auspicous first appearances for the Magic.

Gooden posted his sixth double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds. He made 5-of-6 shots and scored 10 points in the first quarter.

“Everyone was focused on Tracy, so we’d just run and cut and go to the boards,” Gooden said. “I like that style.”

Giricek added 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting and was perfect on five free throws. He missed all five of his 3-point attempts, but McGrady more than made up for his teammate’s long-range deficiency by shooting 6-of-13 from beyond the arc.

“I hope me and Drew bring him luck,” Giricek said. “I hope every day (will) be like this - 52 and a win.”

“I asked McGrady if he had any more friends. If so, we’re going to trade them all,” Orlando coach Doc Rivers joked. “That was a great team win. What Tracy did was awesome. For Gordan and Drew to come in and play that well was a great lift. It’s a nice 1-2 combination with Gooden and McGrady.”

The Bulls, who won at Cleveland on Tuesday, fell for the 28th time in 31 road games. Chicago has not posted back-to-back victories away from home since April 10-15.

“The only positive thing is it should inspire us and fire us up for the next game,” said Bulls center Tyson Chandler, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds but committed seven turnovers. “I’m sure we don’t want to walk into the arena and get another `L’ like this.”

Rookie Jay Williams led the Bulls with 20 points and made a season-high 10-of-10 free throws to go with six assists.

Jacque Vaughn collected eight assists for the Magic, who also got 11 points and four steals from Armstrong.

Orlando scored more than 30 points in each of the first three quarters before posting just 14 in the final period with McGrady on the bench.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
J. Williams J. Williams
5-11,  20 Pts
5 Rebs, 6 Assists
T. McGrady T. McGrady
15-32,  52 Pts
5 Rebs, 3 Assists

Team Stat Leaders