Dwight Howard accomplished a great and many things during his Orlando Magic career. Howard was a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and left as the franchise’s all-time leader in points, rebounds and blocks.
One of the most iconic moments from his tenure was the one that took place on this day 15 years ago. With no time remaining, Howard slammed home an inbounds pass to lift the Magic to a thrilling 106-104 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
Before Howard’s memorable slam on Feb. 9, 2007 came a stellar defensive play to preserve the lead. With the contest tied 104-104, the Spurs had the ability to hold for the last shot. Unsurprisingly, San Antonio put the balls in the hands of star guard Tony Parker.
Parker worked his way inside and appeared to get a pretty good look, but Howard was able to block his shot. Jameer Nelson grabbed the rebound and called timeout with just 0.8 seconds remaining.
With overtime seeming more likely than not, forward Hedo Turkoglu was set to inbound the ball for Orlando. After setting a screen for Nelson, Howard rolled to the basket and was able to get behind San Antonio forward Tim Duncan.
Turkoglu’s pass was on the money and Howard was able to sky above the rim, grab the pass with his right hand and slam it home with no time remaining on the clock. After trailing by as many as 18 points, the Magic had won it at the buzzer.
Both teams shot better than 50% from the field for the game, but early on, it looked like the Spurs may cruise to victory. San Antonio led 44-26 midway through the second quarter and 59-48 at the break.
By the end of the third quarter however, Orlando had drawn even. Nelson scored the final 11 Orlando points of the period to knot the game at 80. He then added the first five Magic points of the fourth quarter to give his team its first lead since the opening minute.
Orlando trailed by six with less than two minutes to play in the game, but a jumper from Carlos Arroyo and a three-point play from J.J. Redick cut the lead to one. After Parker split a pair of free throws for the Spurs, Nelson knocked down a pair to even the game with six seconds left.
Nelson finished with a season-high 31 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists. Howard added 30 points in the win to go with eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks. Redick and Arroyo scored 16 and 12 points, respectively, off the Orlando bench.
Duncan led the Spurs with 24 points and 16 rebounds. Brent Barry added 21 points. Michael Finley and Parker tallied 18 and 17, respectively.
Despite solid offensive nights for a number of players and both teams, it was Howard, sometimes referred to a Superman, who saved the day. His game-winning alley-oop slam came on this day 15 years ago.