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Magic 112, Celtics 90

March 21, 1996

BOSTON (AP) _ The road isn’t such a dismal place for the Orlando Magic anymore.

Their 112-90 rout of the Boston Celtics Wednesday night was their third in six nights away from home and improved their road record to 9-3 since the All-Star break. It was 9-14 before that.

Anfernee Hardaway scored 35 points and Shaquille O’Neal had 28 as the Magic charged out to a 29-20 lead after one quarter and showed little fatigue after a West Coast trip.

``I was shocked by our energy,″ Orlando coach Brian Hill said. ``I don’t know how they do it.″

The Magic, who are 33-0 at home, won in Vancouver on Friday and Los Angeles on Sunday to end a four-game trip. They won at home Tuesday night, then flew to Boston.

``Whether they played last night or last week, we had to come out at a certain level and we didn’t do that,″ Boston’s Dana Barros said.

Boston, which hadn’t played since Sunday, was sluggish from the start, despite having won five of its previous seven games.

``I wouldn’t suspect we would come out without energy,″ said David Wesley, who led the Celtics with 22 points. ``I guess we’ve had that problem all year.″

The Magic won for the 17th time in 20 games and improved to 18-17 on the road, their first time over .500 since Jan. 5.

Leading 52-43, they outscored the Celtics 18-6 in the last 3:21 of the first half and the first 4:02 of the second to open a 70-49 lead. They stayed in front by at least 12 the rest of the way.

O’Neal added 14 rebounds and led the Magic with a career-high eight assists.

But Hardaway was even better, scoring 13 points in the first quarter and scoring nine in a 16-4 fourth-quarter run that put the game away.

The Celtics ``have a lot of small guards,″ the 6-foot-7 Hardaway said. ``Every game that I go into, I’m going into a mismatch, so I try to be aggressive on both ends of the floor and try to push the game early in the first quarter.″

The Celtics, who got 12 points each from Rick Fox and Dee Brown, cut the lead to 91-79 on Brown’s basket with 7:46 left. But the Magic regained control behind Hardaway with the 16-4 run that gave Orlando its biggest lead, 107-83 with 3:45 to play.

``We got a little bit sloppy attacking the press,″ Hill said. ``We just got a little bit careless with the ball, and instead of getting layups and opening up (the lead) even more, we got turnovers and they came back.″

Hardaway, who hit 14-of-19 shots, scored the first five points in the surge and, after Wesley’s two free throws made the score 96-81, added two free throws.

With the score 102-83, O’Neal made a free throw, Donald Royal hit a layup and Horace Grant, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds, ended the run with a dunk.

O’Neal, who had his 16th double-double in 20 games, went 12-for-18 from the field.

The Celtics’ poor shooting helped Orlando pull away in the third quarter. They went just 3-for-18 in the first seven minutes as the Magic increased a 61-47 halftime advantage to 72-53.

Dennis Scott, who set an NBA single-season record of 219 3-pointers Tuesday night against Detroit, hit at least one 3-pointer for the 72nd straight game.

NOTES: Center Eric Montross didn’t return to Boston’s bench after twisting his left ankle with 5:19 left in the first quarter when he stepped on a player’s foot under the Orlando basket. ... New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft and quarterback Drew Bledsoe watched from the press table under one of the baskets. ... O’Neal left the game with 8:02 left in the second quarter when he banged knees with Boston’s Eric Williams, but returned to the court less than three minutes later. ... Anthony Bowie, who had a controversial triple-double Tuesday night with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, started in place of injured guard Nick Anderson and finished with six points, five rebounds and two assists. In a 113-91 win over Detroit one night earlier in his second start of the season, Bowie called timeout with 2.7 seconds left, then got his final assist. Detroit coach Doug Collins was angry, and Hill apologized to him.

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