The 2007-08 Boston Celtics accomplished a great and many things. That year, the Celtics finished 66-16 before beating the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the NBA Finals for the franchise’s 17th championship and first since 1986.
One of the things Boston failed to do was take the season series from the Orlando Magic or to win in Orlando. On this day 15 years ago, Hedo Turkoglu drilled the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Magic a thrilling 96-93 victory.
The teams had split the first two meetings as they arrived at Amway Arena on Jan. 27, 2008. The Magic collected a 104-102 victory in the first meeting in Orlando before the Celtics won the second back in Boston. After three quarters in the final meeting, it looked as though things would go the Magic’s way.
Behind a big third quarter, the Magic took a 75-65 lead into the final period. The Celtics, however, opened the fourth quarter on a 14-3 run to take the lead.
Ray Allen’s 3-pointer with less than eight minutes to go gave Boston an 79-78 lead after trailing by as many as 16 points in the third. The Magic responded with an 11-2 of their own, thanks largely to seven points from Rashard Lewis.
The Magic led by seven with less than two minutes remaining, but the Celtics scored on four straight possessions. With 14 seconds left, Allen’s third 3-pointer of the day tied the game at 93.
Orlando, however, had the final shot.
On the game’s final possession, Turkoglu inbounded to Carlos Arroyo. Turkoglu took the pass from Arroyo at the top of the key and was isolated against Boston’s Paul Pierce.
The Celtics played good defense on the final possession, forcing Turkoglu to his right to try a contested trey. The shot went in with no time remaining to give Orlando the thrilling victory.
Turkoglu finished with a game-high 27 points in the win. Dwight Howard added 18 points and 16 rebounds. Lewis scored 15 points while Maurice Evans and Brian Cook each finished with 11.
Pierce led the Celtics with 24 points in the loss. Allen, James Posey, and Rajon Rondo added 17, 16, and 15 points, respectively, for Boston.
Throughout the course of the 2007-08 season, five of Boston’s 16 losses came by three points or less. Two of those came in Orlando against the Magic. That last of those was decided by a Turkoglu 3-pointer as time expired on this day 15 years ago.