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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Anfernee Hardaway, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Clippers
Anfernee Hardaway sported the Orlando Magic’s original pinstripes jersey, a classic that still creates buzz around the league. (Photo by Andrew D Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Dawn of Penny

Nov. 5, 1993: Penny’s Debut

110. Final. 116. 38. 96

Among the games FOX Sports Florida will air will be the April 25 re-air of Shaquille O’Neal’s debut game against the Miami Heat to start the 1993 season.

That was obviously a big moment for the Orlando Magic and for O’Neal (even if he had a pedestrian debut by his standards).

But the replay schedule skips ahead quite a bit, going from O’Neal’s debut straight to the 1995 Finals run. That seems to minimize the debut that happened the next year — Anfernee Hardaway‘s first game in a Magic uniform.

That was actually a pretty eventful game — also against the Heat.

Anfernee Hardaway scored 12 points on 6-for-13 shooting, adding eight rebounds and eight assists for good measure. Hardaway credited the team’s preseason trip to London to play the Atlanta Hawks for helping him ease into the league.

It probably also helped that he could resume his role from Blue Chips and feed O’Neal over and over again.

O’Neal scored 42 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Magic as they showed the league they meant business. It was also their first win in Miami in franchise history. Magic fans certainly would get a kick out of that.

This was a solid outing for the Magic and the first step in their first playoff season. A sign of how potent the Hardaway and O’Neal combo would become.

April 8, 1994: Magic clinch playoffs

64. 117. 38. Final. 103

Remember how everyone felt when the Orlando Magic finally clinched that playoff berth last year in Boston? It was euphoric.

After six years out of the playoffs finally getting in felt incredible. It felt like validation and arrival for a franchise that had been seemingly lost in the wilderness for so long.

That was a dramatic return for the franchise. One that felt a long time coming for an organization that had experienced a lot of success.

But who can ever forget your first time?

Orlando had already fallen in love with the Magic through the first three years of the franchise’s existence. The fourth season provided the first trip to the promised land. And a chance to compete on the biggest stage.

Orlando certainly clinched with a bang with a 117-103 win over the Detroit Pistons. In that game, Shaquille O’Neal scored 40 points and 16 rebounds and Anfernee Hardaway had 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

The team hoisted new coach Brian Hill on their shoulders as Pistons veterans Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars walked off the court in defeat. The new team had dethroned the aging team and staked their claim to the Eastern Conference.

The Magic would finish fourth, getting homecourt advantage in their first-ever playoff series.

Highlights of the game are on YouTube and can be found in our Orlando Magic Video Vault.

April 28, 1994: The first playoff game

38. Final. 89. 100. 88

Understandably, FOX Sports Florida is not looking to go back and re-air Orlando Magic losses. I would be loathe to put a loss on this list too because watching these classic games should be about celebrating the great moments of Magic history.

But I would be remiss if I did not include the Magic’s first playoff game. It was a real back-and-forth classic and the start of a two-year rivalry between the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers.

In their first playoff game, the Magic got a needed introduction to playoff basketball and just how different it was in this game, ending with the experience Byron Scott nailing the game-winning jumper to give the Pacers the 1-0 series lead and homecourt advantage.

Shaquille O’Neal scored 24 points to lead the Magic. He would say to the Orlando Sentinel the Magic did everything but win the game. But both he and Anfernee Hardaway looked like playoff newbies in their debut with a combined nine turnovers. Orlando lost a 17-point first-half lead.

This was a totally new challenge for the team.

But this game is worth watching for that beginning part. The city’s first introduction to playoff basketball and the excitement and intensity that comes with it. Orlando brought it for its first playoff game. But the team was still too young to understand the challenges before it.

This is quietly one of the best Magic playoff games, even though Orlando comes up short in the end and would eventually get swept in three games for their first playoff hardship.