5 greatest Orlando Magic postseason killers

The Orlando Magic make their return to the postseason this year in what promises to be the first in a long run of new Playoff moments. As the Magic return, we look back at the players who still torment Magic fans.
Chauncey Billups is headed to the Basketball Hall of Fame after making a career torturing the Orlando Magic.
Chauncey Billups is headed to the Basketball Hall of Fame after making a career torturing the Orlando Magic. / KIRTHMON F. DOZIER, Detroit Free Press
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5 greatest Orlando Magic postseason killers

Jamal Crawford, Atlanta Hawks (2011)

The Orlando Magic did not have the season they wanted in 2011. They ended up trading away Vince Carter in December to remake their roster and try to find some semblance of the spark that carried them to the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals. The team was breaking at the seams.

But they still made the Playoffs and they were still heavy favorites against the Atlanta Hawks in their first-round series (Jameer Nelson was even caught on a hot mic telling Derrick Rose the Orlando Magic would see the Chicago Bulls in the second round).

After how thoroughly the Magic defeated the Hawks in the 2010 second round -- at the time, the most lopsided sweep in NBA history with no game closer than 20 points -- who could think otherwise?

But the Hawks had a great game plan to single-cover Dwight Howard and try to lock out the Magic's shooters. They still needed one more ace in the hole.

Enter Jamal Crawford.

Crawford came off the bench for the Hawks to average 20.5 points per game and shoot 45.9 percent throughout the series. But the killer were two game-deciding shots.

The six-game series came down to close games throughout that the Hawks all won. But Game 3 stood out.

Crawford hit a three with 5.7 seconds left to give the Hawks an 88-84 win, banking it off the glass. It is one of the most heartbreaking and frustrating shots in Magic playoff history, effectively beginning the descent toward the end of the Dwight Howard era and closing the team's championship window.

The Magic just did not have an answer for Crawford. And fans were apoplectic that a bench player was the one torturing them. Especially a year after Crawford averaged only 17.0 points per game and shot 33.3 percent from the floor overall in their history sweep the year before.

Crawford suddenly became the difference in the clutch, turning several close games in Atlanta's favor in the team's surprise 4-2 series win.

That was the big thing the Magic were missing. Howard soaked up a lot of attention in the paint, but the team had no one to create on the perimeter and it showed in that moment.

It is still seemingly the thing the Magic are missing as they seek a guard who can create his own shot and beat a team's set defense in critical moments.

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Crawford will always be the one who put the final nail in the coffin of the Magic's championship window. The lockout started that summer and Howard asked for a trade as the team reconvened in December, setting off the Dwight-mare season and the long rebuild ahead.