For the sixth time in franchise history, the Orlando Magic will open the season against the in-state foe Miami Heat. That’s more often than any other opponent for Orlando.
After the six-season drought, the Magic have reached the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Unfortunately for Orlando, both campaigns ended in a five-game first-round exit.
The Heat are coming off their sixth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. Miami missed the postseason completely the season prior. They ultimately lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games last season.
Before the two Sunshine State rivals tip the season off at Amway Center on Wednesday night, take a look back on how the teams fared in the previous five openers against one another:
Miami 100, Orlando 110
Nov. 6, 1992
No. 1 overall pick Shaquille O’Neal made his highly-anticipated NBA debut to open the 1992-93 season, but it was the Magic’s first-ever draft pick that stole the show. Nick Anderson finished with 42 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals as the Magic erased a nine-point halftime deficit. Anderson and Dennis Scott combined to shoot 7-for-11 from beyond the arc. O’Neal scored 12 points to go with a game-high 18 rebounds in his first NBA game. Willie Burton led the Miami Heat with 23 points in the loss.
Orlando 116, Miami 96
Nov. 5, 1993
To begin his second season in the NBA, Orlando center Shaquille O’Neal tallied 42 points and 12 rebounds as the Magic cruised past Miami to start 1-0 for the third straight season. Orlando shot 51% from the field. In his NBA debut, rookie Anfernee Hardaway finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Rony Seikaly led the Heat with 21 points in the loss.
Miami 108, Orlando 96
Oct. 26, 2016
The Magic led by three at halftime, but a big third quarter from Miami allowed the Heat to seize control of the contest. Orlando shot just 38% from the field for the game. Hassan Whiteside paced Miami with 18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. Evan Fournier led the Magic with 20 points. Nikola Vucevic tallied 17 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.
Miami 109, Orlando 116
Oct. 18, 2017
Hassan Whiteside’s 26 points and 22 rebounds weren’t enough as Orlando had six players in double figures. The Magic shot 48% from the floor and led by as many as 17 points in the win. Miami got as close as three in the final quarter, but seven points from Evan Fournier during a 9-2 run helped put the contest away. Fournier led the Magic with 23 points. Nikola Vucevic added 19 points and 12 rebounds in the win.
Miami 101, Orlando 104
Oct. 17, 2018
The Orlando Magic looked to have the opener in hand as they led by 11 points with less than three minutes to play, but Miami would answer with a 10-0 run and had multiple opportunities to prevail in the final seconds. After a critical turnover by Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder’s desperation heave was no good. Aaron Gordon powered the Magic with 26 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Goran Dragic scored 26 points to lead the Heat.