After falling to the San Antonio Spurs on opening night last season, the Orlando Magic will kick off the 2022-23 campaign on the road Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons.
As was the case last season with San Antonio, the Magic have never opened the season against Detroit. Nevertheless, Orlando will kick off its 34th season.
Here’s a look back on its history in season openers:
Record in openers: 19-14
Prior to last season’s 123-97 loss in San Antonio, Orlando had won four straight straight season openers. Regardless, the Magic have won more often than they’ve lost in Game No. 1.
Most common opponent in openers: Miami Heat
More than 1/6 of Orlando’s season openers historically have taken place against their in-state rival. The Magic have opened their season against the Miami Heat six times, including two years ago. Orlando is 5-1 all-time against the Heat in openers.
Largest margin of victory in openers: 29, twice
The Magic’s largest margin of victory on opening night is 29 points on two occasions. The first came in a 114-85 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 30, 2001. Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill combined for 45 points in the win.
Orlando opened the Amway Center on Oct. 28, 2010 with a 112-83 victory over the Washington Wizards. Dwight Howard finished with 23 points on an uber-efficient 7-for-9 shooting to go with a game-high 10 rebounds.
Most lopsided loss in openers: 26, at San Antonio Spurs, Oct. 20, 2021
Last season’s 123-97 loss to the San Antonio Spurs was the worst loss to open the season in Orlando Magic history. The Spurs shot 50% from the field in the win and had seven players score in double figures. Mo Bamba led the Magic with 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting in the defeat.
Closest win in openers: one vs. Milwaukee Bucks, Nov. 3, 2004
The closest win ever for Orlando in an opener came during the 2003-04 season against the Milwaukee Bucks, 93-92. Michael Redd had seemingly delivered the Bucks with a jumper to put them in front by a point with 3.5 seconds to play.
In his Magic debut, guard Steve Francis won the game for Orlando with a lay-in just before the buzzer. Francis finished with 26 points and seven assists in his team debut. Redd led Milwaukee with 19 points.
Closest loss in openers: one vs. Washington Wizards, Oct. 28, 2015
Five years after tying their largest margin of victory in an opener, the Orlando Magic suffered their closest loss ever in a season opener against the same franchise, falling to the Wizards by an 88-87 margin. The Wizards closed the game on a 6-0 run capped by a John Wall basket with less than 13 seconds to play.
The Magic looked to have answered on the other end when former Orlando center Marcin Gortat was called for goaltending. Replay would overturn the call before Nikola Vucevic missed a jumper as time expired. Victor Oladipo paced Orlando with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Washington’s Bradley Beal led all scorers with 24 points.
Best Magic performance in openers: Nick Anderson, Nov. 6, 1992 vs. Miami
Orlando Magic guard and the first player drafted in franchise history, Nick Anderson, had one of the best performances of his career in the 1992-93 opener at home against the Miami Heat.
On 17-for-26 shooting, Anderson finished with 42 points to go with eight rebounds, six assists and five steals. With the contest tied at 91 after three quarters, Anderson poured in 16 points in the final period to lead the 110-100 victory. Shaquille O’Neal would score 42 points for the Magic in the season opener against the Heat the following season.
Longest streak in openers: Five wins, 2000-04
From the start of the Tracy McGrady era to the start of the Dwight Howard era, the Orlando Magic started 1-0 in five straight seasons. Victories during that stretch came over the Wizards, Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks and Bucks. The longest losing streak for the Magic in openers is four from 2013-16.