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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Magic Start off 2nd Half of Season with Loss to Cavs

From Sportsline.com:

Orlando cut an 18-point deficit to 97-90 with 2:45 remaining.

James responded with six straight points in 1:16 to make it 103-90.

"He made three tough shots and that's what great players do - make great plays when the game is on the line," Magic guard Steve Francis said.

Two days after becoming the youngest All-Star game MVP in history, James brought the sellout crowd of 20,562 to its feet with several dazzling behind-the-back passes and one 45-foot shot that went in but didn't count.

Fans chanted "M-V-P, M-V-P," midway through the third quarter when they thought their hero was robbed of a 3-pointer from near midcourt.

With Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu lying injured along the baseline, Orlando players went to foul James to stop the clock. James, one step over the midcourt line, banked in a shot officials ruled off, not allowing the continuation play.

Turkoglu sprained his left ankle. X-rays were negative. He will have an MRI exam Wednesday and is doubtful for the Magic's game in New Jersey.

Francis, the key figure in a rumored multiplayer trade with the New York Knicks, scored 13 points in 27 minutes.

"I don't know anything about trades right now," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "It's all talk, there's nothing that I'm aware of that we have on the table."

Francis is aware of the speculation that cropped up after he was suspended two games last month for refusing to re-enter a blowout loss.

"They've been speculating for a long time," he said. "If it happens, it happens. I can't control it. I have to go out and play every night."

Hill said Darko Milicic, the No. 2 pick behind James in the 2003 draft acquired Feb. 15 with guard Carlos Arroyo from Detroit, will be given an opportunity to play - but only after the third-year center learns the system.

Milicic had two points in four minutes and Arroyo was scoreless in five minutes.

"I'm happy to get another chance to play, to see what I can do," said Milicic. "In Detroit, it was horrible for me. A nightmare."


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