Later a championship head coach and recently named one of the 15 greatest ever, Doc Rivers infamously never won a playoff series in more than four seasons with the Orlando Magic. The 1999-00 NBA Coach of the Year, Rivers however, did take the Magic to the playoffs three times.
Although he never led Orlando to a series victory, the Magic did win six playoff games during his tenure. The first road victory came on this day 20 years ago against the Charlotte Hornets in overtime, 111-103.
The Magic had blown a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of Game 1 and were looking for better results in Game 2 at the Charlotte Coliseum on April 23, 2002. The Magic led by 15 points at halftime, but as they learned three nights prior, swatting the Hornets was a tall task.
By the time the fourth quarter began, what was a 62-47 halftime lead was down to just two points for Orlando. The Magic led 77-75 before a final period that saw seven ties and six lead changes. Despite the back-and-forth nature of the period, Orlando never trailed.
A 7-0 run gave the Magic an 86-79 lead with less than nine minutes to play, but Charlotte drew even five times, including twice in the final minute of regulation. After a pair of free throws from P.J. Brown tied the game at 97 with 30 seconds to go, Pat Garrity answered with two for the Magic on the other end.
Needing one stop, Orlando was unable to get it. Baron Davis found a wide-open Elden Campbell for the tying basket with 4.4 seconds to go. Tracy McGrady would get a chance to win it for the Magic in regulation, but his jumper was no good.
In the extra period, Orlando used its defense to seize control. The Magic held the Hornets scoreless for more than four minutes to start overtime.
Garrity’s three-pointer a little more than a minute into the extra period put the Magic ahead for good. Troy Hudson, who came up big off the Orlando bench, scored the next four points with a long jumper and a pair of free throws.
The Magic would make enough foul shots to put the game away while the Hornets scored just four points in the extra period. David Wesley’s jumper with 23 seconds to go served as Charlotte’s only field goal of overtime.
McGrady led the way for Orlando with 31 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks. Hudson added 26 points off the bench. Garrity and Darrell Armstrong finished with 18 and 13 points, respectively.
Campbell led the Hornets with 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Wesley added 24 points. Davis finished with 11 points and 10 assists in the defeat.
The victory evened the series for the Magic, but they couldn’t take care of business at home. Charlotte won the next two contests to take the series.
The win in Charlotte however, served as Orlando’s first-ever playoff road win in overtime. It came on this day two decades ago.