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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Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando Magic, Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks
Shaquille O’Neal and Patrick Ewing had a classic battle in triple overtime during O’Neal’s rookie year. (Photo credit should read TONY RANZE/AFP via Getty Images) /

Early Contention

Feb. 14, 1993: Shaq’s Showdown with Ewing

27. 102. 38. Final/OT. 100

FOX Sports Florida’s schedule for their Magic Classics will go straight from Shaquille O’Neal’s debut with the team to the 1995 Playoff series with the Chicago Bulls. There are obviously a lot of games in between that are worth watching. Including some truly iconic ones.

I will take a deep cut here from O’Neal’s rookie year.

In Magic history, they have played 134 overtime games, 17 games that went to multiple overtimes and only four games that went to triple overtime. The first of those was a Sunday afternoon battle between Shaquille O’Neal and Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks on Valentines’ Day 1993.

O’Neal had 21 points, 19 rebounds and nine blocks to lead the Magic. Nick Anderson filled up the box score with 24 points, five rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Donald Royal scored 15 points off the bench.

But let’s focus on O’Neal. The nine blocks are impressive. Even more impressive was he blocked Patrick Ewing’s game-winning attempt at the end of regulation. And then blocked six more shots in overtime.

Everyone knew O’Neal was destined for stardom — he had just been named an All-Star starter, displacing Ewing, so his 34 points definitely might have had some motivation. But this was perhaps the first game where he truly looked like it. All on a national stage too.

Anderson was the star in what was perhaps his best individual season. The Magic erased a six-point deficit in the final six minutes thanks to Nick Anderson’s back-to-back 3-pointers, the last with eight seconds to force overtime.

Triple-overtime games are by their nature full of drama. But this was a game that has seemingly been lost to the ages. It should not be.

The good news is the full game was uploaded to YouTube and can be found in our Magic Video Vault.

April 23, 1993: Shaq breaks the backboard… and Nick scores 50

147. Final. 119. 38. 116

The Orlando Magic were in the midst of their first playoff race. Every game mattered as they tried to avoid a tie with the Indiana Pacers. They had zero margin for error and their destiny was out of their control.

So they arrived in New Jersey feeling the pressure. And not entirely healthy. Nick Anderson was battling a hamstring injury and did not start. But the game was too important for him to miss. He came off the bench that night.

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Coach Matt Guokas asked his young star if he could give him anything. Anderson said he would try. So when he checked into the game midway through the first quarter, anything they could get from him would be a bonus.

How does 50 sound?

Nick Anderson scored his career-high 50 points that evening and became the first player ever to score 50 points off the bench — Jamal Crawford joined him last March as the second player.

Anderson hit the go-ahead basket with 37 seconds left to give the Orlando Magic the win over the New Jersey Nets. This was the crowning achievement in Anderson’s career season — a career-best 19.9 points per game that season.

But nobody remembers this game for Anderson’s 50 points or the playoff implications. This game lives on because Shaquille O’Neal violently claimed the basket, ripping it down to the Meadowlands’ floor. That was his second backboard claimed that year and still an incredible feat of the young players’ strength.

NBATV will often replay this game during Magic replay days in the offseason. Extended highlights can be found in the Orlando Magic Video Vault.