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A magical season for Pat Garrity
by Mike Tuck / March 3, 2002

In his fourth NBA season, Pat Garrity is posting career highs across the board. Pat’s contributions have the Orlando Magic in the running for a top seed in the Eastern Conference despite a season ending injury to perennial All-Star Grant Hill.

“Pat’s been a lifesaver,” Horace Grant said without hesitation.

Pat Garrity had always been a player who would come off the bench and provide three-point shooting, but at the same time be a defensive liability. Early on in the season this was the case again. The Magic had added future Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing to the roster, but did not make him a starter in order to save his legs for the long hall. So once again Orlando had a revolving door at the center spot, but about a month and a half into the season Pat Garrity slammed that door shut when he was given his chance to start.

“I think it’s given me more confidence and having Doc trust me like that, it really has given me more confidence in my all-around game,” Garrity said.

Pat took over at power forward and Head Coach Doc Rivers bumped Horace Grant up to center. Garrity is an undersized power forward at 6’9’’ and 238 lbs, but it is Garrity, not his opponents, that is causing match-up problems. Pat’s feathery touch from the outside forces opponents’ big men to have to step out on the floor and guard him.

“The fun thing about playing against those guys is that while they have the advantage in the post, it’s kind of fun the other way when we have an up-and-down tempo, coming off screens and stuff. They really don’t look too comfortable doing that either,” Garrity said with a chuckle.

The fact is that the Magic has thrived with this smaller lineup, currently sitting at a season-high five games above .500. Offensively Pat Garrity has shined this year. He has led the Magic in scoring on four different occasions. But equally important Pat has more than held his own on the defensive end. Pat’s hustle and determination on defense has allowed Doc Rivers to have confidence in playing with a smaller lineup.

“I think he’s been great,” Rivers said. “He’s guarding guys who are bigger, stronger and you can make the case more talented every night and a lot of those nights he comes out ahead. I’ve been really happy with him.”

Despite his career year and deadly accuracy from deep, his teammates have one complaint about Pat’s shooting. He doesn’t do it enough.

“He knows we get upset at him when he doesn’t take shots,” Darrell Armstrong said.

Horace Grant said, “We get mad at him. It shows him how much confidence we have in him. Whenever he gets his hands on the ball, we think it’s going in because he’s just that good of a shooter.”

Teams throughout the league know how good of a shooter Pat Garrity is too. Every team the Magic had trade talks with, one name kept popping up in every deal discussed. That name was Pat Garrity. His value to the Magic is why he is still in Orlando.

He is a perfect fit for Orlando’s run-and-gun style of offense. He allows the Magic to spread the floor and open the lane for Tracy McGrady and Mike Miller. All he has to do is sit on the perimeter and shoot the ball when it comes his way. And when Pat Garrity has his feet set, it’s lights out.

“Times like that, when you’re shooting well, it doesn’t fell like there’s any effort. Or when the ball touches your hand, all of a sudden it’s up in the air. It’s kind of hard to explain, but when you’re a shooter and you start getting into a rhythm, everything’s right. Your footwork’s right, you’re effortlessly catching the ball, squaring up and letting it go and those are fun nights”, Garrity said in talking about his special skill.

Pat has had a lot of fun nights for the Magic this year.

Mike Tuck is a producer/on-air talent for 740 The Team in Orlando and a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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