For the Orlando Magic, the 2006-07 season isn’t one that will be remembered with any great fondness. The start to that campaign however, was pretty darn special.
On this day 15 years ago, Grant Hill played the role of hero as the Magic scored an impressive 91-89 road win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Hill scored the game’s final four points, including the winning basket with less than a second remaining.
Orlando led 72-67 after three quarters and pushed that lead to as many as nine in the final period. Portland however, came storming back.
Zach Randolph scored eight straights points to jumpstart the Trail Blazers. After a pair of free throws from Lamarcus Aldridge tied the game, Travis Outlaw’s jumper gave Portland its first lead of the game with about a minute to play, 89-87.
The final half-minute of the contest however, belonged to Hill.
Trailing by two, the veteran and former All-Star came away with a steal on a Sergio Rodriguez pass and pushed the ball down the court, drawing a foul on guard Jarrett Jack. Hill knocked down both free throws to knot the game with 30 seconds remaining, 89-89.
On the ensuing possession, Portland had two chances to go ahead but misses by Juan Dixon and Rodriguez set up Hill to be the hero.
With just 1.2 seconds to go and Hedo Turkoglu inbounding, Hill came open. Turkoglu’s pass toward the rim was on the money and Hill was able to lay it in off the lop with just 0.3 seconds remaining. The Trail Blazers were unable to get off a shot of the game’s final possession.
On the night, six Magic players scored in double figures. Dwight Howard led the way with 18 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks. Hill added 16 points and Turkoglu had 13. Darko Milicic, Keyon Dooling and Trevor Ariza all added 10 points in the victory.
In the loss, Randolph led the Blazers with a game-high 28 points and 13 rebounds. Jack and Outlaw tallied 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Unfortunately for Hill, injuries derailed his tenure in Orlando as he never became the superstar and walking triple-double that he was as a member of the Detroit Pistons. Hill however, was the hero for the Magic on this day 15 years ago.