The top 10 Orlando Magic moments of 2020

Markelle Fultz introduced himself to the nation with a triple-double in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers last January. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Markelle Fultz introduced himself to the nation with a triple-double in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers last January. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 8
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic
Nikola Vucevic has taken a star turn in the Orlando Magic’s 2020 Playoff run. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

Before we completely close the books on the 2020 calendar year, let’s look back at the top Orlando Magic moments from 2020.

The 2020 calendar year has . . . well, it has not been good.

Everyone has gone through a ton of turmoil and it seemed to hit the team from the very beginning. The NBA world faced loss early on with the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. All the way into the pandemic — where the whole family mourned the loss for Karl-Anthony Towns among plenty of others.

The season restarted in Orlando’s backyard at Disney as the league undertook the incredible effort with the bubble. Players were leaders in trying to bring attention to social justice issues throughout the campus, nearly ending the season early after the shooting of George Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

The Orlando Magic were present for that dramatic moment as the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the floor to protest the lack of action to stem systemic racism and police violence against the black community.

Ultimately the season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers lifting the championship trophy on the floor at Disney. The Magic made their second straight playoffs and bowed out in the first round in another five-game series.

The season started back up again and Orlando opened up with four straight wins for the first time in franchise history.

As 2020 comes to a close, it feels like the Magic are looking toward a brighter future in 2021. The team is aiming for a third straight playoff berth.

That journey through 2021 will be a difficult one no doubt. The Magic saw how quickly things can fall apart for them after a blowout loss to the Philadelphia 76ers to close the year. There are still many things to work on to achieve those goals.

But as the year comes to a close, it is a good time to take a look back at the good that happened this year. The best moments that made 2020 livable through all the frustration and darkness we all experienced.

At the end of the day, the Orlando Magic were here to give us some solace and some normalcy. That is something we have all needed.

10. Jan. 13 — Aaron Gordon’s Game-Winner

The Orlando Magic have had plenty of clutch buckets over the course of the year, but few that were actual buzzer-beaters. They had two in the 2019 season with Evan Fournier delivering the late heroics. And Nikola Vucevic’s overtime-forcing 3-pointer in a game against the Detroit Pistons was certainly among the highlight late baskets that deserve mention (we will get to one of the other ones a bit later).

But the only true game-winning shot the Magic had came against the Sacramento Kings in January.

Orlando had lost a late lead for the second straight game as De’Aaron Fox put the team’s defense into the blender late in the game. The Magic seemed to be wilting down by one after having a seven-point lead with 1:30 to play.

That is when the team turned to Fournier to save the day. He got to his spot and took the shot, or rather he slithered a pass to the interior. The defense was all geared for a shot but the ball snuck past them to Aaron Gordon who finished and drew the foul before the defense could re-adjust.

He it the free throw to give the Magic a two-point win.

That was a road-trip-saving play for sure as the Magic had their dates in Los Angeles coming up. With a loss in Sacramento, the Magic might have very well faced a winless road trip after a similar late-game collapse in Phoenix a few days earlier.

But give the team credit for rallying as they did. And giving Aaron Gordon his first game-winning basket and one of the few bright spots from a rough part of the schedule in 2020.