Orlando Magic on Hiatus: The top 10 games of the 2020 season (so far)

Markelle Fultz and the Orlando Magic made a strong first impression in their season opener. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
Markelle Fultz and the Orlando Magic made a strong first impression in their season opener. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /
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Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic, Miami Heat
Aaron Gordon and the Orlando Magic laid a small claim to the state in a January win over the Miami Heat. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

6. State of Affairs: vs. Heat (Jan. 3)

110. 105. 38. Final. 85

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The Orlando Magic had one thing going for them as the Miami Heat surged to the top of the Eastern Conference after remaking their team in the summer with Jimmy Butler. They had dominated the Heat in head to head matchups. This was not a major rivalry around the league, but it is impossible to say the game did not matter to players and fans in Orlando.

Yes, the Magic have had some little brother complex with the Heat, especially after the Heat landed LeBron James in free agency and the title they won thereafter. Miami became a national brand and Orlando was still in its shadow.

The Heat would end up winning the next three matchups as a measure of revenge. Meyers Leonard would surreptitiously and proudly proclaim Florida belonged to the Heat, suggesting they too understood the Magic’s dominion over them in the last few years.

This rivalry has quietly taken on new dimensions.

Among the Magic’s few wins over team’s with winning records, none felt more cathartic and more promising than this dominant win over the Heat.

Orlando, playing its first game after Jonathan Isaac’s injury, needed the confidence boost. They needed to make a statement.

Until the Magic’s recent run of games, there was no bigger or more satisfying victory than the win over the Heat in this game. Orlando simply dominated Miami throughout much of the second half, shutting down Butler and dominating almost all the way through.

Orlando outscored Miami 21-6 in the fourth quarter to close it out and build an insurmountable margin.

In a now-satisfying bit of foreshadowing, Aaron Gordon had his best dunk of the year to date, collecting a pass deflected by Derrick Jones Jr. and then slamming hard on Tyler Herro for one of the biggest highlights of the year.

Terrence Ross was again big off the bench with 25 points — most of the Magic’s biggest wins have a healthy contribution from Ross, it seems — with Nikola Vucevic scoring 20 points to go with 11 rebounds and seven assists. He got the better of Bam Adebayo in this one.

The Magic took care of their business and at least made a small claim to the state.