Most diehard Orlando Magic fans are aware that Orlando was the last team to eliminate the legendary Michael Jordan from the postseason. After the Chicago Bulls legend came out of retirement, the Magic topped the Bulls in six games in the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Some may argue that Jordan was not at his best at the time, but on this day 30 years ago, he certainly was – and Orlando beat him anyway. The Magic were able to overcome 64 points from Jordan to beat Chicago in overtime, 128-124.
Jordan finished 27-for-49 from the floor at Chicago Stadium on Jan. 16, 1993. It wasn’t a great night for his Chicago teammates, but as time ticked away in the fourth quarter, it didn’t appear as though that would matter.
When the period began, the Bulls led 88-78. The Magic fought back to drew even, but with a 108-105 lead, Chicago was just a stop away from victory.
With 3.9 seconds to go, Orlando inbounded in the frontcourt. As Tom Tolbert threw the ball in for Orlando, Bulls guard John Paxson narrowly missed deflecting the basketball. That left Nick Anderson wide open at the top of the arc for a long three-pointer. With 1.4 seconds remaining, Anderson knocked it down to knot the game once again.
Jordan had a chance to win the game with a three-point attempt of his own at the end of regulation, but the shot was just long. With more than a minute remaining in overtime, it was Anderson who put the Magic ahead for good.
With the contest even at 118, Anderson went to the line for two free throws. After making the first, the Orlando guard was able to follow up his miss on the second with a putback to give Orlando a three-point lead. A late turnover by Chicago’s Horace Grant and some key free throws by the Magic ultimately helped put the contest away.
While Jordan paced the Bulls, Scott Skiles’ 31 points led a balanced Orlando attack that saw six players score in double figures. Shaquille O’Neal finished with 29 points, 24 rebounds and five blocks. Anderson scored 18 points while Anthony Bowie, Tolbert and Jeff Turner added 16, 14, and 13 points, respectively.
In addition to Jordan’s 64 points, Scottie Pippen added 17 points for Chicago. Paxson and Grant each finished with 12 points. Despite a 4-for-12 shooting night, Grant led the Bulls with 19 rebounds.
Although the 64 points fell five shy of Jordan’s career-high, the 27 made field goals served as the most in his legendary career. It came in a losing effort to the Magic on this day three decades ago.