For Orlando Magic Fans, Game Four Loss All Too Familiar
Being just 11 seconds away from tying the series with the Lakers, they needed to hit just one free throw to ice the game.
Amway Arena was rocking, and the players were feeling good, except this franchise has been here before.
If there is one thing we have learned, it is that history repeats itself. This is the case for Dwight Howard, and the Orlando Magic.
In the 1995 NBA Finals game one, the Orlando Magic had a three point lead in the dying seconds against the Houston Rockets. With two free throws for Nick Anderson, the game looks over.
Only one problem, Anderson misses both, but ends up getting his own rebound. Now with two more chances to win the game, Anderson does the unthinkable, and misses both free throws again.
The Rockets end up tying the game with a last second three by Kenny Smith, and win the game in overtime. Houston then went on to sweep the Magic for a second consecutive NBA title.
Fast forward 14 years. Stepping to the line is Dwight Howard, Orlando's All-Star center, and best big man in the game.
The Magic are up by three points with just 11 seconds remaining. One free throw is all that is needed to tie the series and take all the momentum.
Howard looks at the rim and puts the first free throw up, brick.
It's ok he still has one more.
Here comes Howard with the one that will win it, and brick. The crowd is now silent.
This can not be happening, this is a memory that took 14 years to go away, only because of this years Finals berth.
Wait, they still have a lead! Just one stop and the series is still tied. Here comes Derek Fisher, which is great news because he is not Kobe Bryant! Fisher puts up a three, and swish.
Kidding me right?
The Lakers have forced overtime, and have the momentum. Los Angeles goes on to win the game, and now look to have the championship locked up.
For Magic fans it took 14 long years to forget about Nick Anderson, and unfortunately only one week later to remember.
With the series pretty much over, this one will haunt us just as much. To forget the six most important free-throws in franchise history, would take winning an NBA championship.
With three straight elimination games, including two on the road, this is going to be a long summer.
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