The Arizona Republic
Magic make losing streak disappear
Orlando rallies from a 29-point deficit to defeat the Phoenix Suns 105-98.
By BOB YOUNG
The Arizona Republic
ORLANDO – Give the Suns this: They have a flair for the dramatic.
On the same four-game road trip they made the most dramatic comeback for a victory in franchise history in Boston – a rally that equaled the fourth biggest in NBA history – last night they produced the third-most dramatic collapse in club history.
After leading by 22 points in the first quarter against an Orlando Magic team that had lost 19 consecutive games, the Suns fell on their face in a 105-98 loss and wasted a 29-point, 17-rebound game from Shawn Marion.
The Magic, meanwhile, avoided NBA ignominy with the victory.
They were approaching the league records for most consecutive losses (24) and most consecutive losses in one season (23).
They would have been only the fifth NBA team ever to lose 20 games or more in the same season.
“That was like the greatest comeback I’ve ever been involved in,” said Orlando’s Tracy McGrady, who missed a triple-double by one assist with 16 points 11 rebounds and nine assists.
“Now we have something to talk about other than, ‘Oh, you know, we played hard but we’ve got to find some way over this hump.’ Finally got over the hump.”
But the Suns, who try to save face and a road trip tonight in Miami, made their own historical list.
The biggest collapse in team history came in March 2001 when they squandered a 28-point lead to Sacramento and lost. The second biggest flop came on Christmas Day in 1968 when the Lakers came back from 24 down to beat the Suns.
Yesterday’s nose dive ranks third.
Stephon Marbury described it as “identical” to Boston’s fold job against the Suns at the start of the trip.
“What we did, we got passive,” Marbury said. “The exact same thing happened to Boston. They got passive against our press, and we got passive against (Orlando’s) zone.”
• Suns forward Amare Stoudemire is expected to miss a month with a sprained left ankle.
Phoenix activated center Cezary Trybanski to take Stoudemire’s place on the active roster yesterday.
Spurs 96, Bulls 82: At Chicago, Manu Ginobili scored 14 of his 26 points in the last five minutes for San Antonio.
Tim Duncan had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Rasho Nesterovic added 17 points and seven rebounds.
Eddy Curry scored all 16 of his points in the fourth quarter for Chicago.
Hornets 91, Bucks 85: At New Orleans, Jamaal Magloire had 20 points and 11 rebounds, including three late baskets, for New Orleans.
Baron Davis added 18 points and 10 assists. Former University of Arizona star Sean Rooks, with New Orleans, did not play.
Celtics 102, Jazz 80: At Salt Lake City, Mike James had 18 points and nine assists and Boston won in Utah for the first time in nearly four years.
Eric Williams added 19 points and Paul Pierce had 14 for the Celtics, who were 1-13 in their last 14 visits to Utah and hadn’t won in Salt Lake since Feb. 15, 2000.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Associated Press
Orlando’s Drew Gooden (0) scores in the second quarter as Phoenix’s Scott Williams tries to defend.