Dennis Scott: 3-D on Fire!

The Games I'll Never Forget: March 8, 1991, and April 13, 1993

Dennis Scott was a sharpshooter who, along with first-ever Magic first-round choice Nick Anderson, gave Orlando a second straight stellar draft pick in 1990. He was an All-Rookie First Team member in 1990-91 and was best known as a consistent and superior long-distance marksman. His .397 three-point shooting percentage currently ranks No. 26 all-time in NBA history.

Scott currently works as the general manager of the ABA's Atlanta Vision and has a goal of working in management or coaching at the NBA level.


Two games come to mind when I think about my most memorable moments with the Orlando Magic. Not coincidentally, they were my two top-scoring games in the NBA, which led us to two wins at different points in Magic history.

The first came toward the end of my very first season in the NBA. I was having a solid rookie year, and the Magic were starting to come together as a team. We had Scott Skiles coming into his own as a floor leader and Nick Anderson blossoming as a two-way player. Before I put on the Orlando uniform, the Magic had a disastrous first season, finishing 18-64 and in last place. In my first year, we took a big step forward, nearly doubling our wins.

The game I best remember from that season is when I lit up the Denver Nuggets for 40 points on March 8, 1991. There had been a lot of talk in Denver about whether the Nuggets should have selected me No. 3 overall in the 1990 draft or Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (then known as Chris Jackson). In fact, Abdul-Rauf hit us for 35 points about a month earlier, so notching my career high and getting a win vs. Denver at the same time was very satisfying.

As with most of my big-scoring games, I was the beneficiary of great team play. Against Denver, our big men -- Greg Kite, Mark Acres, Jeff Turner -- really came through for me. Their screens freed me up for a number of unobstructed jumpers from the corner. And as the rest of the league was coming to know, if you left me open, I could stick shots.

In this game, I started incredibly hot, hitting my first five attempts. In half a quarter I had 11 points and tallied 16 by the end of the first. I didn't keep up that pace, of course, but by game's end, I was 16-of-22 overall, shooting four-of-five on treys.

Naturally, someone had to get me the ball once I worked free off screens, and that someone was Skiles. That night, seven of his 20 assists were through me. He recorded a 20-20 game, exactly 20 points and 20 assists, so this game should be as memorable to him as it is to me.

Skiles also played a role in the game I consider my greatest, which came about two years later, on April 13, 1993, when I scored a career-high 41 points in a 110-91 win vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. As fun as it was to top my previous high of 40, what made it even better was to again score 40-plus in front of the home fans in Orlando.

We were a much different -- and much better -- team in 1992-93. It was Shaquille O'Neal's first season, and we all knew that he would help lead us to the heights of the NBA.

The Magic weren't there yet -- we were still a .500 team. But this late in the season, we had reached a point where we knew we could beat anybody on any given night. That's a big step for a team to take. It was a big step for me, too -- as much confidence as I'd always had in my shot, as our team got better and we acquired more and more weapons, that confidence soared.

It was obviously sky-high in this game vs. Milwaukee. My 41 points came with help from a team-record nine three pointers. I shot 16-of-31 on the game and attempted 19 threes, another team record.

We were up by 30 at times in the fourth quarter, and ended up winning by 19, so you might wonder why I was firing up so many treys in a 19-point win. Well, only five days earlier, Brian Shaw of the Miami Heat had nailed an NBA-record 10 three-point baskets in a game against -- you guessed it -- the Bucks.

Milwaukee's Todd Day started out guarding me, just as he had Shaw in the earlier game. But if Day couldn't stop Shaw from going crazy with threes, he certainly wasn't going to stop me. It's no dis on Brian to point out that his record effort was a bit of a fluke. I shot about a hundred percentage points better than him on threes, so I had a definite sense that I could score on Day from deep at will. In addition, Shaquille's dominance in the post helped free me up outside; he scored 15 points, grabbed 16 boards, and made seven blocks in the game. Milwaukee had no choice but to keep him on its radar, allowing me to slip off of it at times.

I was within one of tying Shaw with almost half of the fourth quarter remaining, and my teammates definitely wanted to see me tie or break the record. At that point, of course, Day was no longer guarding me. In fact, no one was really guarding me -- the Bucks were fouling the heck out of me. I tried three long bombs to try to tie Brian's record, but finally I decided that Milwaukee was playing too physically on the perimeter to continue gunning for the record. I didn't want somebody to thug me into the third row of seats and shorten my career, so I asked out of the blowout and was content in gaining the Magic's three-point record.

A mere two seasons later, we advanced to the NBA Finals team and were one of the elite teams in basketball. But it's these two games that helped establish the Magic as a team to be reckoned with -- and solidify my reputation as a great offensive weapon.


This story originally appeared in the January issue of Magic Magazine. Get your favorite Magic fan a subscription to Magic Magazine! To subscribe call 1-877-841-7070 or e-mail subscription.service@skies.com and specify you want Magic Magazine. A one-year subscription is $18.95 and two-year is just $24.95.