Anfernee Hardaway and game-winning shots was something of a theme for the Orlando Magic during the 1995-96 season.
That year, the Magic won a franchise record 60 games and Hardaway played a pivotal role in many of them. That was the case on this day 25 years ago as his game-winning shot lifted Orlando past the Vancouver Grizzlies, 95-93.
The Magic arrived at the Orlando Arena on Nov. 22, 1995 with a record of 8-2. Against 2-8 Vancouver, it seemed like an opportunity for an easy win for the Magic, but that was never the case.
The lead was not bigger than two for Orlando after any quarter. With just over three minutes remaining, the Magic were on the short end of an 89-87 score following a lay-in by Vancouver center Bryant Reeves. Defenses dominated the next two minutes, but a basket and a free throw by Nick Anderson put Orlando in front by one with a minute remaining.
Vancouver’s Greg Anthony and Hardaway then traded baskets, but Hardaway was only able to covert one of two free throws on a late Magic possession. With less than 10 seconds to play, Byron Scott attempted a three-pointer to try to put the Grizzlies in front.
The shot was no good, but he managed to grab his own rebound. After drawing a foul on Orlando forward Horace Grant, Scott knocked down a pair of free throws to even the game at 93 with 5.4 seconds to go. The contest seemed destined for overtime, but Hardaway had other plans.
Matched up with Anthony, Hardaway took the inbounds pass from Brian Shaw and drove left. A help defender forced the Magic guard to pull up. Hardaway used the glass. After the shot initially bounced off the front of the rim, it hit the backboard again and fell through as time expired.
The winning shot capped a 37-point night for Hardaway. Anderson and Grant each tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds in the Orlando victory.
Scott came off the bench to lead Vancouver with 20 points. Anthony, Blue Edwards and Benoit Benjamin all added 11 points in the loss. Anthony finished with a game-high 10 assists.
The win for the Magic was their 15th straight at home dating back to the previous season. That streak would reach 40 with many coming in thrilling fashion. One of those took place on this day a quarter-century ago.