Most Memorable Games from the Orlando Magic's 2012-13 Season
Nobody expected much from the Orlando Magic this past year, and they were right to believe this.
The team limped to a final record of 20-62, the worst mark in the NBA. However, the Magic’s season had its share of entertaining games.
We’ll rate the five most memorable games the Magic played, ranking them based on the following factors: whether it was an upset, individual performances, how close the game was and outside factors (rivalry, playing against former players, etc).
All the statistics (individual and team), box scores and team standings used in this article are from ESPN.com.
5. Orlando Loses to Miami 96-97 (March 6 at Miami)
The Orlando Magic were visiting their division-rival, the Miami Heat, as the teams sat at nearly opposite ends of the standings (17-44 and 44-15 respectively).
Few, if any, thought the Magic would stand a chance in the contest, as Miami had won their previous 15 games.
What resulted was a thriller decided in the final seconds.
Orlando, led by Nikola Vucevic and his double-double of 25 points and 21 rebounds, took a 96-93 lead with only 1:36 left in the game on a jumper made by Jameer Nelson.
But everything fell apart for the Magic, following Nelson's bucket.
In the final minute of regulation, Tobias Harris and Vucevic both fouled out, while DeQuan Jones and Al Harrington missed game-clinching shots.
After Harrington's miss, LeBron James drove past Jones and scored the game-winning layup with 3.2 seconds left.
This victory gave Miami its 16th straight, which would last for 11 more games for a total of 27 consecutive wins (second best in NBA History).
And although the game ended painfully for the Magic, this nail-biter was clearly one of the most exciting games of the season, and a memorable heart-breaker for Orlando.
4. Orlando Scrapes by Milwaukee 113-103 in Overtime (April 10 at Orlando)
Orlando earned its 20th and final victory of the season against the team they dealt former Magic star J.J. Redick to, the Milwaukee Bucks.
Despite the feel-good story of Redick's homecoming, the headliner of this game was Tobias Harris sticking it to his old team.
Selected by the Bucks with the 19th pick of the 2011 draft, Harris spent the majority of his time in Milwaukee on the bench.
Harris, however, had the last laugh as he scored 30 points, grabbed 19 rebounds, dished out five assists and hit the game-tying three (as he was fouled!) with 1.9 seconds left.
Even though Harris missed the winning free throw, his heroics (along with Vucevic, who tallied an almost identical line of 30 points, 20 rebounds and five assists) propelled the Magic to victory.
3. Orlando Shocks the Clippers 104-101 (January 12 at Los Angeles)
Orlando traveled out to Los Angeles to play the Clippers, who then shared the league's top record at 28-8.
The bright lights of LA and opposing star-power, led by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, didn't intimidate the Magic.
Arron Afflalo had one of his best performances of the year, scoring 30 points and collecting seven rebounds and assists.
But, the game was won as Nikola Vucevic made the final basket to put Orlando up 104-101, just after J.J. Redick's late-game heroics set up the win.
Moments before Vucevic's shot, Redick hit a three-pointer to give Orlando its first lead of the game with only 48 seconds left.
Then, as the Clippers were in a position to take the game-winning shot, Redick drew an offensive foul on Jamal Crawford, giving the Magic the ball and eventual victory.
2. Miami Slips by Orlando 112-110 in Overtime (December 31 at Orlando)
In the first matchup between division rivals, the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat played a closely-contested game that went back and forth until the end.
Miami's "big three" were instrumental in the 112-110 overtime win, with each player scoring at least 21 points (Wade had 21, Bosh 22 and James 36).
The Magic were led by J.J. Redick, who scored 23 points and dished out five assists, and Arron Afflalo, who provided 28 points, four rebounds and three assists.
But the star performance of the game was tallied by Nikola Vucevic, who burst onto the national scene after his monstrous effort on the glass.
Vucevic, who collected 20 points, two assists, three steals and two blocks, also grabbed 11 offensive and 18 defensive boards to total an astonishing 29 rebounds in the contest.
This mark was the highest rebounding output in a single game by any player in the league over the course of the season.
1. Magic Get Revenge on the Lakers in 113-103 Win (December 2 at Los Angeles)
The team Howard had demanded to be traded from in a tremendously publicized affair, beat his star-studded group on their home floor.
Orlando fans rejoiced as their club thoroughly beat Howard, seen as a headache and traitor to the organization, and the Lakers behind a 40-point fourth quarter.
In a contest comparable to David and Goliath, the Magic won behind a superb team effort, with Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, Glen Davis and Nikola Vucevic providing excellent production.
Afflalo finished the game with 30 points, five rebounds and five assists, Nelson scored 19 and racked up 13 assists, Redick tallied 14 points and seven assists, while both Davis and Vucevic grabbed 12 rebounds as they both had double-doubles on the night (Davis scored 23 points and Vucevic had 17).
So when we consider the factors used to rank these games: upset, individual performances, how close the game was (neck-to-neck until the 4:30 mark in the fourth quarter when the Magic ran away with the game*) and outside factors, the Orlando victory over Los Angeles was clearly the most memorable game for the Magic this past season.
*Courtesy of ESPN.com, you can look at the "Play-By-Play," if you want to go through the exact plays to see how the game went, or "Shot Chart" (and then specifically click on "Game Flow"), which provides a graph to illustrate how tight a contest this was.