Cohen 8-Ball: Reliving Magical Moments
OrlandoMagic.com’s Josh Cohen describes memorable plays and moments in franchise history.
Penny in the Clutch
When we reflect back on Orlando’s rivalry with Chicago in the mid 90’s the first moment we reminisce is Nick Anderson’s swipe on Michael Jordan in Game 1 of the 1995 conference semifinals which led to a game-winning fast break dunk by Horace Grant. Many agree this astonishing play is the most memorable single on-the-court moment in the franchise’s history.
What’s so fascinating, however, is that something perhaps even more unimaginable happened between the Magic and Bulls earlier that season. It was about three weeks prior to Jordan’s return to basketball following his infamous stint on the diamond.
With Shaquille O’Neal sidelined with injury, Penny Hardaway delivered one of the best performances of his career against the Bulls in Orlando on Feb. 26, 1995. He racked up 39 points and connected on a game-winning breakaway dunk following a steal with 0.7 left.
Penny would come up clutch again a couple of years later against the Rockets on March 12, 1997 when he drilled a game winning leaner over the reach of Hakeem Olajuwon with 1.1 seconds remaining.
It's also worth mentioning that Hardaway buried a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.3 ticks left against the Pacers in Game 4 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals before Rik Smits hit the winner at the buzzer.
Watch these terrific plays and vote below which shot was most impressive.