10 more classic Orlando Magic games to watch (1990-95 edition)

Anfernee Hardaway and Shaquille O'Neal made the Orlando Magic in 1995. (Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dan)
Anfernee Hardaway and Shaquille O'Neal made the Orlando Magic in 1995. (Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dan) /
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Expansion & Establishment (1990-91)

February 14, 1990: Jordan’s No. 12

129. 24. 135. 38. Final/OT

FOX Sports Florida will air one of the most important wins in the early history of the Orlando Magic. On April 25, you can catch the Orlando Magic upsetting the Chicago Bulls despite Michael Jordan’s 52 points. Otis Smith‘s layup late in the game is one of the highlights of that expansion season.

That was when the Magic were still coming to the realization this was an expansion year that would not feature a ton of team success — the Magic’s 18 wins that year are still the fewest in franchise history.

But another game quickly gained some infamy later in the season.

On Valentines’ Day 1990, the Bulls were back in Orlando. The circumstances of that game became somewhat legendary.

During the team’s shootaround, a security officer reportedly stole Jordan’s famous No. 23 jersey, forcing him to wear the alternate jersey each team carries with them on the road. Jordan wore No. 12 that game.

He proceeded to put on a scoring tour de force, as Jordan does, scoring 49 points on 21-for-43 shooting. But the Magic scored their second win over the Bulls that season. Terry Catledge scored 34 points, making 14 of 19 free throws.

This was a wild game though.

Coach Matt Guokas got ejected in the third quarter. The Magic outscored the Bulls 12-0 in the final two minutes of regulation and first three minutes of overtime. Scott Skiles made all four of his 3-pointers (that was a lot back then).

Among the great games that made up that first season, this is one that only gets mentioned for the strange circumstances surrounding it. But it deserves a rewatch in its own right (even if only the final 40 minutes are posted to YouTube and in our Video Vault).

December 30, 1990: Skiles’ Assist Mark

38. Final. 116. 73. 155

To get a record like the 30-assist mark Scott Skiles set on a sleepy day in December, it takes a confluence of the right things.

Players have to hit open shots, the scorekeeper has to be generous and the opponent has to give the player the space to do that. All three came into place when the Orlando Magic faced the running Denver Nuggets.

Paul Westhead brought his run ‘n gun style from college to the NBA and he was determined to make it work. So the Nuggets picked up the pace, running with abandon at every opportunity. Their defense was, let’s just say it was not a focus for the team.

Skiles took advantage with a precise and calculated game. A game where Skiles, in typical fashion, was out to prove his worth in the league, brushing off reported trade rumors to the Detroit Pistons (much closer to his alma mater Michigan State Spartans).

The Magic would not trade him for another few years and he would become one of the early fan favorites (he still might be if not for his sudden departure as head coach in 2016). He would go on to win Most Improved Player in the NBA that year.

What is most amazing perhaps is Skiles tied the record with 6:57 to play and Magic players proceeded to miss and miss and miss and miss. Jerry Reynolds finally hit a jumper with 19.6 seconds left to give Skiles his 30th assist and his place in history.

"“I guess everyone in the arena knew but me,” Jerry Reynolds told the Orlando Sentinel at the time. “My shot hadn’t been falling, and that is why I was driving to the basket. Then Scott came up to me and said, ‘Hey, just shoot the ball. Help me get the record.’ ”"

Even Skiles had to bask in the moment, saying he was on top of the world. It was a rare moment of self-congratulation from the usually stoic Skiles. Twenty-five years later, he was not much for looking back and celebrating as the Magic’s head coach.

The full game was uploaded to YouTube and can be found in our Orlando Magic Video Vault.