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20-year Orlandoversary: Armstrong’s career night leads Magic past Sixers in double overtime

Magic v 76ers X Armstrong

During the 2000-01 season, Philadelphia 76ers’ guard Allen Iverson won the scoring title and MVP while leading the Sixers to the NBA Finals for the first time in 18 years.

On this day 20 years ago however, Iverson’s 47 points weren’t enough to top a balanced Orlando Magic effort led by guard Darrell Armstrong. Orlando rallied late in regulation and then again in overtime before beating Philadelphia in double-overtime, 123-117.

After three quarters at the First Union Center on Feb. 2, 2001, it didn’t seem like overtime was anything that the Magic needed to worry about. The Magic were just 21-23 coming in while Philadelphia owned the best record in the NBA at 35-11. To that point however, the contest had been one-sided in favor of the visitors.

A three-pointer by Mike Miller late in the third gave Orlando an 85-74 lead heading into the final period, but the 76ers would storm back.

Iverson scored 12 points in the period, including a three-point play with less than 10 seconds to play that gave the 76ers a 102-100 lead. With momentum clearly on the side of Philadelphia, the Magic showed resiliency.

Center Michael Doleac’s jumper from the top of the key knotted the game with two seconds left. Iverson’s three-point attempt at the buzzer was no good and the contest went to overtime.

A loss seemed inevitable for the Magic after the 76ers scored the first six points of the extra period, but with less than two minutes to go, Doleac knocked down back-to-back jumpers. That was followed by a steal and dunk by forward Don Reid to knot the contest with less than a minute to play. Armstrong and Iverson each missed go-ahead shots as the game went to a second overtime.

With Orlando’s star guard Tracy McGrady having an off night, Armstrong took over in the second overtime. Armstrong would score 13 of Orlando’s 15 points in the five-minute period.

After Tyrone Hill knocked down a free throw for Philadelphia, Armstrong drilled a triple to put the Magic ahead for good. Armstrong and Pat Garrity would add jumpers before Armstrong’s second three-pointer of double-overtime with less than a minute to play gave the Magic a 118-113 lead.

Armstrong would add three free throws before his dunk with 16 seconds remaining put the exclamation point on the victory. Armstrong tallied a then career-high 34 points to go with a game-high 13 assists.

McGrady added 25 points for Orlando in the win, but on just 9-for-26 shooting. Miller finished with 24 points while Doleac tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Hill and Theo Ratliff each had double-doubles to compliment Iverson’s big night for the 76ers. Ratliff finished with 21 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Hill scored 15 points and added 10 boards.

Philadelphia would go on to finish 56-26 and capture the No. 1 seed in the East. Throughout the course of the season however, there was only one team in the conference that the 76ers didn’t beat at home.

That was the Orlando Magic.

The Magic won both meetings in Philadelphia in thrilling fashion. The first of those required two overtimes and took place on this day two decades ago.