An NBA blog from Newsday's Bobby Bonett
Flashback: Magic stunned by the King
Day 8 of our 30-team NBA playoff flashback profiles the Orlando Magic. The Magic franchise has never won an NBA title, and has 13 playoff appearances since the 1991-92 season.
Date: May 22, 2009
Situation: The No. 3 seed Orlando Magic lead the No. 1 seed Cleveland Cavaliers, 1-0, heading to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Context: The Orlando Magic used the league’s best defense, — a 101.9 defensive rating — the league’s most dominant center, — Dwight Howard averaged 20.6 points and 13.8 rebounds in the regular season — and a plethora of three-point shooters — Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson, Mickael Pietrus, Courtney Lee, J.J. Redick and Anthony Johnson all shot better than 35 percent from deep — to go 59-23 and win the Southeast Division. With Rafer Alston running the point — Nelson was injured, and missed all but five playoff games — Orlando breezed through the 76ers in the first round, 4-2, then came back from a 3-2 deficit in the semifinals to beat the defending champion Celtics in seven games. In the opening game of their series with the 66-16 Cavaliers, Orlando survived a 49-point performance from LeBron James to hand the Cavs their first loss of the postseason, 107-106, and take a 1-0 series lead.
Recap: Down by as much as 23 points in the second half, and trailing 56-44 at the break, Orlando surged back to pull within three, 93-90, with less than a minute left. Hedo Turkoglu proceeded to drill a three and tie the game at 93-93. After a LeBron James travel, it was again Turkoglu coming up big, the small forward scoring his 20th and 21st points of the game with a 12-foot jumper to give the Magic a 95-93 lead — and presumably, the win and a 2-0 series lead — with seconds left. Instead, LeBron James hit one of the most clutch shots in NBA history. James took the inbound pass from beyond the three-point line, turned, and heaved a high-arcing shot that went in, giving Cleveland the one-point win. James proceeded to famously sprint toward the Cavs bench, where he was mobbed by teammates. Orlando lost, 96-95.
Top players: Rashard Lewis led Orlando with 23 points, including 4-for-7 from three. Hedo Turkoglu had 21 on 9-for-17 shooting. Dwight Howard was held to 10 points, but pulled down 18 rebounds. The Magic shot 10-for-23 from three as a team. Cleveland was led by LeBron James (35 points, the buzzer-beater his lone three-pointer) and Mo Williams (19 points on 7-for-21 shooting).
After the game: The Magic bounced back quick, winning Game 3, 99-89, and Game 4 in overtime, 116-114, to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. While Cleveland managed to extend the series with a home win in Game 5, Orlando advanced to the Finals with a 103-90 win in Game 6. The Magic were overmatched by the Lakers in the Finals, though, Los Angeles setting the tone with a 100-75 win in the series opener, and Orlando would fall in five games.
Check back tomorrow for the Suns.
You can view the whole series back clicking the "Flashback" tag below.