Throughout their history, the Orlando Magic have overcome many big deficits. On this day 30 years ago, the deficit was never that large, but with time running out, the Magic looked dead in the water.
In the end, forward Terry Catledge played the role of hero. His last-second tip served as the game-winner as the Magic rallied from six points down with 37 seconds left to stun the Indiana Pacers, 98-97.
Indiana’s Chuck Person led all scorers with 30 points at the Orlando Arena on March 13, 1992. With 43.4 seconds to play, Person knocked down a pair of foul shots to push the Pacers’ lead to 95-89. That looked like all she wrote for Orlando, but the Magic elected to keep fighting.
The Magic were on the verge of going without a three-pointer for the second straight game, but Otis Smith made sure it didn’t end that way. After his trey cut the lead in half, Chris Corchiani came up with a big steal and found Catledge for a dunk with 20 seconds left. Suddenly, it was a 95-94 game.
Detlef Schrempf was able to push the Indiana lead to 97-94 with 14 seconds left. On the other end, Catledge drew contact and went to the line. Catledge made the first free throw, but missed the second. On the rebound, Brian Williams was able to tie up Indiana’s LaSalle Thompson for a jump ball.
Williams won the jump and Orlando retained possession, down two. With seven seconds left, Stanley Roberts drove baseline and drew contact. Like Catledge, Roberts made the first before missing the second free throw.
Again, the Pacers failed to secure the rebound. Williams attempted to throw in the miss, but Catledge was there to lay it in with 3.4 seconds to go. Somehow, someway, the Magic had the lead.
Schrempf would get off a 20-footer on the other end for the Pacers, but it was no good. The comeback was complete. The Magic had pulled it off.
In addition to Person’s big night, Reggie Miller tallied 19 points in the loss. Micheal Williams finished with 17 points for the Pacers.
Catledge paced Orlando with 20 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Otis Smith added 19 points in the win. Roberts and Sam Vincent each chipped in with 17 points while Jerry Reynolds scored 11 off the Orlando bench.
Orlando finished just 21-61 during the 1991-92 season, but was 2-0 in games decided by a single point. The final of those two one-point wins included an improbable comeback and a game-winning putback from Catledge. It came on this day three decades ago.