Magic Library: 1989-90 Season

By Josh Cohen
July 18, 2011's Josh Cohen watched some vintage footage, examined old-time box scores and decided to provide some mini recaps for the five most impressive Orlando Magic victories from the inaugural 1989-90 season.

NOV. 6, 1989 vs. NEW YORK KNICKS

Although they lost their first game in franchise history on Nov. 4, 1989 against the New Jersey Nets, it was noticeable that the Orlando Magic’s passion and craving to notch their first ever win would come shortly afterwards.

Two nights later at the O-Arena, enthusiasm from everyone in the building catapulted the organization to a stirring victory over the New York Knicks.

All five starters, including Reggie Theus who erupted for 24 points, scored in double figures and the Magic’s bench outscored the Knicks’ reserves 32-8. Scott Skiles recorded 13 points and eight assists.


One would have assumed that after notching their first ever triumph, relief and exhaustion would have practically burned the Magic out.

But, rather than feel satisfied, Orlando went on the road and racked up a thrilling overtime victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers in its subsequent contest.

Like he had done against the Knicks, Theus flourished as his 28 points steered the Magic. Sam Vincent and Terry Catledge contributed with 23 points each.

This early momentum in the season nearly propelled the Magic to an improbable win against the defending NBA champion Detroit Pistons in their next game, but Isiah Thomas proved too governing down the stretch.

NOV. 28, 1989 vs. MIAMI HEAT

It was Round One of the Sunshine State rivalry and it was the Magic that delivered a big knockdown of the Heat.

There were all kinds of anticipation heading into this showdown after both cities vied to land franchises in year’s prior.

This Magic victory was also the game when Nick Anderson showed everyone what was in store for the next several years. Orlando’s first-ever draft pick tallied 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

Also interesting about this contest, the Magic did not attempt any 3-pointers.

DEC. 10, 1989 vs. L.A. LAKERS

After already coming close to defeating the reigning NBA champs, the Pistons, in their first season, the Magic knew they could compete with the very best of the league.

It showed in mid-December when it edged the always-effervescent and mighty L.A. Lakers.

Perhaps most impressive about this victory was that the Magic limited perennial All-Star Magic Johnson to just 3-of-16 shooting from the floor. It was one of Johnson’s worst performances of the season.

Meanwhile, Catledge, Vincent and Theus each enjoyed outstanding efforts as they combined for 67 points.

DEC. 20, 1989 vs. CHICAGO BULLS

Michael Jordan may have enjoyed one of his best performances of the season with 52 points on 20-of-37 shooting from the floor, but ultimately, that wasn’t enough to deflate the Magic.

Though his scoring total was almost half of Jordan’s, Otis Smith thrived in one his best efforts of the Magic’s inaugural season with 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting.

Like it had done often during the season, Orlando’s bench overpowered Chicago’s 47-11.

The fun against MJ didn’t stop that night as the Magic again knocked off the Bulls on Feb. 14.

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