1. Archive

Hardaway bombards Boston

Penny Hardaway is feeling comfortable in his full-time job as Orlando's shooting guard.

He scored 32 points Sunday as the Magic gave Chuck Daly his first win as its coach, 107-96 over the Celtics.

"I love it," said Hardaway, primarily a point guard last season. "The point takes a lot out of you."

Orlando acquired Derek Harper and Mark Price to share that position with Darrell Armstrong and let Hardaway concentrate on converting open jumpers. He did that against the trapping defense installed by new Boston coach Rick Pitino.

"There are so many good shooters and so many good point guards in the league, it's going to be tough for them to play that way every night," Hardaway said. "Teams will catch on. It will be tough for them to keep going, and they're going to leave open shots."

Boston played its defense effectively in Friday night's opener when it overcame a 32-12 deficit and beat Chicago 92-85. On Sunday night, the Celtics fell behind 7-0 and trailed by at least five points the rest of the way.

"We got off to a slow start and made a lot of mistakes," said rookie Ron Mercer, who led Boston with 23 points. "It's tough to come back the way we did the other night."

With Chicago's Scottie Pippen sidelined until January, the Magic had better ball-handlers who created open shots.

"We obviously used a lot of people under their pressure," Daly said. "Everyone responded and played well. I kept talking to our guys after the second quarter to move the ball and make the shot."

Daly, who won two titles with Detroit, took a three-year break after coaching 12 NBA seasons, the last two with New Jersey. Then came the season-opening loss to Atlanta at home Friday.

"We were embarrassed and disappointed," Hardaway said. "We all felt bad."

Orlando led 14-2 less than five minutes into the game and, in the second half, led by nine to 24 points. Nick Anderson added 13 points for the Magic, and Antoine Walker, who had 31 against the Bulls, was held to 19.

The victory was Orlando's fifth straight over Boston and eighth in nine games.

The Celtics used a nine-point run in which Mercer had six points to cut the lead to 58-49 with 7:20 left in the third quarter. But the Magic came right back with a 9-1 surge in which Hardaway hit a three-pointer and a layup and went ahead 67-50.