Tobias Harris’ stay in Orlando was relatively short, but productive.
In less than four seasons in the City Beautiful, Harris averaged a shade under 16 points and seven rebounds per contest. He also came up clutch a number of times for the Magic, including on this day five years ago.
The Atlanta Hawks had won nine straight as they arrived at the Amway Center on Dec. 13, 2014. The contest went back and forth in the final quarter, but Harris’ jumper as time expired proved to be the difference as Orlando prevailed, 100-99.
The contest featured 10 ties and 15 lead changes and plenty of late drama. With the score tied 72-72 after three quarters, the lead changed six times in the fourth quarter.
Atlanta led by as many as five in the final quarter, but the Magic would not allow the Hawks to pull away. The first lead of the period for Orlando came with about a minute to play as Evan Fournier hit a driving layup to put his team in front, 95-94.
On the ensuing possession, Orlando center Nikola Vucevic came up with a big block on Hawks’ guard Jeff Teague. Victor Oladipo would cash in with two free throws on the other end to push the lead to three before Teague answered with two of his own to cut the lead back to one with 17 seconds remaining.
With eight seconds remaining, Harris split a pair of free throws, leaving the door open for Atlanta. The Hawks would take advantage.
Out of a timeout with seven seconds to go, Teague found sharpshooter Kyle Korver. Korver had already scored eight points in the period, including six free throws, when he sprang open and knocked down the go-ahead three-pointer with 3.4 seconds to go, prompting Orlando to take a timeout.
Down 99-98, Fournier was set to inbound for the Magic in the front court and with a five-second count looming, found Harris at the top of the arc. With Atlanta forward DeMarre Carroll off balance, Harris made his way toward the basket. Carroll was able to recover, but Harris was able to knock home a leaner from near the foul line as time expired to give the Magic the improbable victory and put an end to Atlanta’s nine-game winning streak.
Harris would pace the Magic that night with 20 points as five Orlando players scored in double figures. Fournier, Vucevic, Oladipo and Ben Gordon added 19, 18, 15 and 12 points respectively. Vucevic grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
Teague led all scorers with 24 points to go with a game-high seven assists and three steals. Al Horford added 18 points on 9-for-15 shooting for the Hawks in the loss. Korver scored all 11 of his points in the final quarter. Mike Scott, Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder each finished with 10 points off the Atlanta bench.
The Magic would go on to lose their next four games while the Hawks began another winning streak that reached five games. Atlanta would finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season and go 3-1 against Orlando. The lone loss came in dramatic fashion and on this day five years ago.