Playoff appearances – let alone wins – have been few and far between for the Orlando Magic in recent years. On this day a quarter-century ago however, the franchise had a notable first.
After making the postseason for the first time during the 1993-94 season, the Magic were swept in three games by the Indiana Pacers. The following season, the Magic went 57-25 to secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference. That playoff run began with a 124-77 beatdown of the Boston Celtics – the first postseason win in Orlando history.
The No. 8 seed in the East with a record of 35-47, the Celtics arrived at the Orlando Arena on April 28, 1995 for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. When all was said and done, the Magic had handed Boston the worst loss in the history of its legendary franchise.
Orlando shot 49 percent from the field in the win, including 9-for-17 from beyond the arc and 31 of 37 from the free throw line. The Magic also held an 11-rebound edge and forced 18 turnovers in the win.
Shaquille O’Neal led Orlando with a game-high 23 points to go with 11 rebounds. In total, eight Magic players scored in double figures.
A short jumper by Dominique Wilkins gave the Celtics a 2-0 lead. They would not lead again. As a team, Boston shot 35 percent and just 1-for-8 from distance.
The Magic led by 17 after the first quarter, 18 at halftime and by 32 after the third quarter. The onslaught didn’t stop there however, as Orlando outscored the Celtics 36-21 over the final 12 minutes.
In addition to O’Neal’s big night, Nick Anderson added 20 points. Horace Grant chipped in with 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Dennis Scott and Jeff Turner tallied 13 and 11 points, respectively. Anfernee Hardaway, Donald Royal and Anthony Bowie all added 10 points in the win.
Dee Brown led the Celtics with 20 points in the loss. Wilkins scored 14.
Boston would bounce back to stun Orlando in Game 2, but the Magic closed out the series with two straight victories in Boston. Orlando would go on to reach the NBA Finals that season and then again in 2009.
In addition to the two NBA Finals appearances, Orlando has reached the Eastern Conference Finals four times and the Eastern Conference semifinals five times. The Magic’s first-ever playoff win came on this day 25 years ago.