2. August 18 — Magic score upset in Game 1
The Orlando Magic limped into the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Jonathan Isaac had already left the bubble with a torn ACL. Mohamed Bamba was struggling to regain conditioning after getting COVID-19 in June. Aaron Gordon strained his hamstring during the seeding round. Michael Carter-Williams was also hurt. Even Fournier was playing through an illness that kept him out of practice throughout the seeding round.
Everyone expected the juggernaut Milwaukee Bucks to steamroll and sweep the Magic in the end.
Orlando had different plans. The legend of the Game 1 Magic continued as the team notched a second straight upset victory to open the playoffs.
Nikola Vucevic started what would become a star-making playoff series with 35 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. He found every hole in the Bucks defense and exploited it.
Orlando got a big boost from Gary Clark, who made four 3-pointers. And while Terrence Ross did not hit a 3-pointer, he still scored 18 points including two big dunks late in the game to ice it away.
It felt like at that moment Orlando had the perfect strategy to take advantage of Milwaukee and the team would make it a series.
Unfortunately, the aforementioned injuries did not allow the Magic to get the most of their opportunity. They could not get a strong performance from Evan Fournier, who hit a critical 3-pointer to stay ahead in Game 1, nor could they get that spark from Gary Clark the rest of the series. The Magic did not have the depth to survive the series.
The Miami Heat learned the lessons the Orlando Magic taught and defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the next round.
Still, Orlando will always have this moment. A time when the Magic believed they could score an upset. It gave the team quiet confidence that this team could still grow into the 2021 season.