Over his eight total seasons with the Orlando Magic, forward Hedo Turkoglu was no stranger to coming through in the clutch. On this day 15 years ago, that’s just what he did.
Turkoglu’s fadeaway jumper with less than a second left in overtime lifted the Magic to a thrilling 112-110 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
It was Dec. 31, 2007 as the Magic sought to close the calendar year strong at the United Center. Orlando was 21-11, but the young Bulls weren’t going to let the Magic leave the Windy City without a fight.
Orlando led by as many as six points in the final quarter, but with less than a minute to play, Chicago led 96-93. Guard Jameer Nelson went 3-for-4 from the charity stripe over the final minute to draw Orlando even. Turkoglu and Chicago’s Ben Gordon each had shots to win the game at the end of regulation, but neither were successful.
The extra period featured three ties and six lead changes. The Magic were one stop from victory, but Gordon’s three-pointer with 8.4 seconds left drew the Bulls even at 110 and capped a 39-point night for the young reserve guard from Connecticut.
Orlando had the final shot and it was Turkoglu who would take it. After getting a screen from Dwight Howard, driving left and forcing a switch, Chicago center and four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Ben Wallace, wasn’t even able to get a hand up to contest and Turkoglu buried a fadeaway with just 0.7 seconds remaining to send the Magic home as winners.
Like Chicago, Orlando’s top scorer also came off the bench as Nelson paced the Magic with 22 points on 8-for-15 shooting. Rashard Lewis led Orlando starters with 19 points. Turkoglu and Howard each tallied 17 points while Keith Bogans and Carlos Arroyo each finished with 14.
Howard added game-highs of 22 rebounds and five blocks in the victory. Luol Deng led Chicago starters with 21 points.
Including the postseason, Turkoglu had numerous memorable moments during his time with the Magic. He made sure Orlando had a happy new year on this day 15 years ago.