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The Magic’s Most Common Playoff Opponents

Do you know which team the Magic have played most in the postseason? How about which East teams they’ve never faced?


There are no active players still on the rosters, but as we alluded to earlier this week, this season won’t be the first time that the Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks have met in the playoffs.

Orlando hopes for better results this time around after losing to the Bucks three games to one in the first round of the 2001 NBA Playoffs. Before the Magic and Milwaukee tip things off in the NBA bubble on Tuesday, we take a look back on the teams that Orlando has seen most often in the postseason.

Detroit Pistons (4)

History: (2) Orlando beat (7) Detroit 3-0 in 1996 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, (1) Detroit beat (8) Orlando 4-3 in 2003 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, (1) Detroit beat (8) Orlando 4-0 in 2007 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, (2) Detroit beat (3) Orlando 4-1 in 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals

Overview: From the 2002-03 seasons to the 2007-08 seasons, the Magic made the playoffs three times. Each time, their season ended at the hand of the Detroit Pistons. The Magic had not won a playoff series since 1996, but were on the verge of moving on with a 3-1 series lead in 2003. Detroit rallied to win the series in seven games.

It would be four years later before the Magic made it back to the playoffs, but wound up being swept by Detroit. After advancing past the first round for the first time since 1996 by beating the Toronto Raptors in 2008, the Magic were topped by the Pistons in the second round in five games. The 1996 postseason began for Orlando with a three-game sweep of Detroit. Orlando won by an average of 16 points per game that series.

Atlanta Hawks (3)

History: (2) Orlando beat (3) Atlanta 4-1 in 1996 Eastern Conference Semifinals, (2) Orlando beat (3) Atlanta 4-0 in 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, (5) Atlanta beat (4) Orlando 4-2 in 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Overview: The first two meetings in the playoffs between the Magic and Atlanta Hawks weren’t all that competitive. After falling behind 3-0 in the 1996 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Atlanta managed to avoid the sweep, but not much more. That would be the last playoff series that the Magic would win for 12 years.

When the teams met in the 2010 NBA playoffs, the Magic were even more dominant, sweeping the Hawks. Orlando won by an average of more than 25 points per game with the closest game in the series being decided by 14. The Hawks did get revenge the following season by taking the Magic out in six games in what would be Dwight Howard’s final playoff series played as a member of Orlando.

Boston Celtics v Orlando Magic, Game 5 Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Boston Celtics (3)

History: (1) Orlando beat (8) Boston 3-1 in 1995 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, (3) Orlando beat (2) Boston 4-3 in 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, (4) Boston beat (2) Orlando 4-2 in 2010 Eastern Conference Finals

Overview: The Magic and Celtics have met in each round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. In 1995, Orlando got its first series win, winning Games 3 and 4 in Boston in what would be the final games played at the historic Boston Garden. In 2009, the Magic became the first team to rally from a 3-2 series deficit to beat the Celtics. After winning Game 6 at home, the Magic knocked off the defending champions with a 101-82 blowout in Game 7 in Boston.

That marked the first time that Orlando had ever won a playoff series without home-court advantage, but the Celtics would return the favor the following season. After taking Games 1 and 2 in Orlando, the Celtics raced to a 3-0 series lead. The Magic won the next two contests, but have not advanced past the first round since.

Indiana Pacers (3)

History: (5) Indiana beat (4) Orlando 3-0 in 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, (1) Orlando beat (2) Indiana 4-3 in 1995 Eastern Conference Finals, (3) Indiana beat (6) Orlando in 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Overview: When it comes to the Orlando Magic and the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers play an important role in Magic history. Indiana was Orlando’s first postseason opponent. The Pacers would go on to sweep the Magic in 1994, winning the first two games in Orlando by a combined three points before closing things out at Market Square Arena.

The Pacers would go on to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. During the 1994-95 campaign, they returned, but joining them there was the top-seeded Magic. In a series where each of the first five games were decided by five points or less, the home team won every game. Fortunately for the Magic, Game 7 was back in Orlando where they blasted the Pacers 105-81 to clinch their first trip to the NBA Finals.

The most recent meeting was in 2012. With Orlando star center Dwight Howard injured, the Magic pulled off a thrilling Game 1 victory in Indianapolis. That would be their last playoff win until last season. Indiana won the final four games.

Other Eastern Conference Playoff Opponents

Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats (2)

History: (4) Charlotte Hornets beat (5) Orlando 3-1 in 2002 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, (2) Orlando beat (7) Charlotte Bobcats 4-0 in 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Chicago Bulls (2)

History: (1) Orlando beat (5) Chicago 4-2 in 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals, (1) Chicago beat (2) Orlando 4-0 in 1996 Eastern Conference Finals

Milwaukee Bucks (2)

History: (2) Milwaukee beat (7) Orlando 3-1 in 2001 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, (1) Milwaukee vs. (8) Orlando TBD in 2020 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Philadelphia 76ers (2)

History: (6) Philadelphia beat (3) Orlando 3-1 in 1999 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, (3) Orlando beat (6) Philadelphia 4-2 in 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Toronto Raptors (2)

History: (3) Orlando beat (6) Toronto 4-1 in 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, (2) Toronto beat (7) Orlando in 2019 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Cleveland Cavaliers (1)

History: (3) Orlando beat (1) Cleveland 4-2 in 2009 Eastern Conference Finals

Miami Heat (1)

History: (2) Miami beat (7) Orlando 3-2 in 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

NBA Finals Opponents

Houston Rockets (1)

History: (6) Houston beat (1) Orlando 4-0 in 1995 NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers (1)

History: (1) Los Angeles Lakers beat (3) Orlando 4-1 in 2009 NBA Finals

Eastern Conference Teams Orlando Hasn’t Faced in Playoffs

Brooklyn Nets

New York Knicks

Washington Wizards