Remembering the O-Rena: Dwight Howard’s Game Winner

The Amway Center is set to open its doors to basketball on October 10 for a preseason game between the Magic and the Hornets. The regular season starts October 28 as Orlando takes on Washington. With the countdown on to the premier of the Magic’s new building, I thought it would be good to give Orlando Arena a proper send-off and recount some of the best memories from our old home.

We are t-minus 36 days until regular season basketball in the Amway Center!

Game-winners and buzzer-beating shots are a rare occurrence. When they happen, it is a rare event. A random ho-hum game in February can be turned into a memory with one moment.

That happened on February 9, 2007.

Centers are not known for making game-winning shots. They cannot particularly handle the ball well enough to initiate a last-second offense effectively enough. They usually cannot shoot free throws well enough to even merit getting the ball in the last second.

But with only a second remaining in a game against the Spurs, Brian Hill needed options. And one of the most reliable options for the Magic has always been throw the ball to rim and let Dwight Howard come up with something. Even the threat of Howard rolling to the basket after setting a screen and doing this is usually enough to free someone up for a drive to the basket.

Rarely will you see a play as spectacular as the one Howard and Hedo Turkoglu pulled off.

Almost every Magic fan can tell you where they were when Turkoglu lobbed that ball toward the rim to land emphatically in Howard’s hands and into the rim before time expired.

Personally, I was unable to watch the game since I was in school and I was watching a friend in a play when I clicked open my phone to check the score to the game. I was already pretty happy that Orlando had defeated the San Antonio. When I got backt o my dorm room and watched the highlights, I was awe struck, calling over anyone and everyone I could find to confirm that what I had just seen was unbelievable.

It was a middle-of-the-season game involving a team that would sneak into the postseason and be unceremoniously swept, but this was a moment when fans knew Orlando was on the right path. And Dwight Howard was going to lead the way.

We will be reminiscing about Orlando Arena for the rest of the summer. Have a memory you would like remembered? Tweet us with your memories @OMagicDaily, comment to this article or contact us through the Web site.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily