NBA franchises from the Sunshine State since the late-1980s, the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat have played many classic contests against one another over the years.
One that went Orlando’s way came on this day 15 years ago. The Magic overcame a seven-point deficit with less than two minutes remaining in regulation before ultimately topping the Heat in overtime, 121-114.
The Magic had led most of the night at AmericanAirlines Arena on Dec. 28, 2007. A 13-1 run by Miami in the final quarter, however, gave the Heat a 92-85 advantage.
The seven-point lead remained as the clock ticked under two minutes. Orlando responded with a 9-1 run of its own to go back in front.
Down 102-99 with 41 seconds left, Dwight Howard went to the free throw line for Orlando to try to cut the lead to one. After hitting the first foul shot, Howard missed the second, but Carlos Arroyo was able to get an offensive rebound before finding Rashard Lewis for the go-ahead three-pointer.
Over the final 32 seconds of regulation, the lead changed three times. After Arroyo and Howard combined to go 4-for-4 from the charity stripe over the final 13 seconds, the Magic led 107-104 and were one stop away from victory.
Miami’s Daequan Cook decided that 48 minutes of basketball wasn’t enough. With 1.9 seconds left, Cook’s tying three-pointer forced overtime. The first four minutes of the extra period didn’t lack excitement.
With 1:17 left in the extra period, a Cook trey again drew the Heat even – this time at 114. Miami, however, wouldn’t score again.
Hedo Turkoglu put Orlando ahead for good with two free throws with 52 seconds left. On the next Magic possession, Turkoglu delivered the dagger with a game-sealing three-pointer with just 12 seconds left in the contest.
The Magic found a way to win despite a career-high-tying 48 points from Miami’s Dwyane Wade. Udonis Haslem and Ricky Davis each added 17 points in the loss.
With 29 points and 21 rebounds for Orlando, Howard became the second-youngest player in NBA history to have at least 10 games with 20 points and 20 rebounds. Turkoglu and Lewis added 22 and 17 points, respectively, in the win. Arroyo and Keith Bogans each finished with 13 points for Orlando. Maurice Evans and Keyon Dooling each scored 10.
For the Orlando Magic, the 2007-08 season would be arguably its best in more than a decade as the Magic finished with a record of 52-30. Miami struggled, finishing 15-67.
Head-to-head, Orlando went 4-0 against its instate rivals that season. The closest of those contests came on this day 15 years ago.