Magic Classic Wins: Game 5 of 2009 First Round Against 76ers

Fox Sports Florida will broadcast this win on Thursday, May 14 at 8 p.m.
by John Denton

ORLANDO - Riding the momentum provided by Hedo Turkoglu’s buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer at the end of Game 4, the Orlando Magic ultimately strung together the kind of stirring run that would not only allow them to dispatch the Philadelphia 76ers, but also make it all the way to the 1995 NBA Finals.

Following a bumpy start to the 1995 playoffs with losses in Games 1 and 3 to the underdog 76ers that had them twice trailing, the Magic finally came to life in Game 5 and started to resemble the one that won 59 games and posted the NBA’s best defensive rating during the 2008-09 season.

Orlando ground out a 91-78 victory in that Game 5 by riding the physical force that was superstar center Dwight Howard (24 points, 24 rebounds and two blocked shots) and the sweet shooting of forward Rashard Lewis (24 points and three 3-pointers). The Magic also held the Sixers to 42.6 percent shooting and just four-of-18 accuracy from 3-point range that night at the building formerly known as Amway Arena.

With the 2019-20 NBA season suspended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, Fox Sports Florida has used much of April and May to show select classic games from the Magic’s glorious, 31-year history. Fox Sports Florida is re-airing Orlando’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals, starting with the four first-round victories over the Sixers. The re-airing of Game 5 will be Thursday at 8 p.m., while the replay of that game will be on Saturday at 5 p.m. Fox Sport Florida will show the clinching Game 6 on Saturday at 7 p.m. Another replay of the game will be shown on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Orlando’s Game 5 victory over Philadelphia did not come without a huge price to the team. In that gritty Game 5 victory, Howard went high into the air to block a Willie Green shot in the first quarter, but his elbow came down across the face of Magic guard Courtney Lee. The blow resulted in a fractured sinus cavity for Lee, who had played well in Game 1 (18 points), Game 2 (24 points) and Game 4 (15 points). Lee wouldn’t return to action until the second round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics and was forced to wear a protective mask the rest of the playoffs.

After the game, there was some heated back-and-forth talk between Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and Philadelphia’s Tony DiLeo after the Sixers made veiled claims of Howard staying in the lane too long on offense and defense. Afterward, Van Gundy cracked a witty joke about Howard’s accidental hit on Lee that poked fun at the Sixers’ cries.

``We’re going to have the league look into Dwight’s elbow on (Lee) too,’’ Van Gundy said.

Howard’s elbows also came into play later in the first quarter. After getting tangled up with Samuel Dalembert in the battle for a rebound, Howard drilled the Philadelphia center in the chest with an elbow. At the time, Howard was simply hit with a technical foul, but NBA officials later suspended Howard for the upcoming Game 6.

It was a good thing for the Magic that Howard was allowed to remain in the action for Game 5 as he dominated the action inside in almost every conceivable way. Not only did he make eight of 14 shots and eight of 12 free throws, but Howard also corralled 11 of his 24 rebounds on the offensive glass. The 24 rebounds grabbed by Howard that still stand as a Magic franchise record for a playoff game.

``It’s been very physical in the series,’’ Howard said after that game when asked about his elbow to Dalembert in the first quarter. ``All we can do is hope for the best. It’s been a dogfight all series. It wasn’t like I was out there trying to hurt anybody.’’

Marcin Gortat, who emerged as Orlando’s primary backup to Howard late in the 1994-95 season, scored six points and grabbed five rebounds in 10 minutes of action in the Game 5 victory.

That performance would loom even larger after Howard was suspended a day later for Game 6 in Philadelphia. In Game 6, Gortat forever moved into Magic lore with a performance for the ages in relief of Howard. In 40 minutes that night, Gortat contributed 11 points, 15 rebounds (four offensive), four steals and two assists to lift the Magic to a 114-89 rout of the Sixers that sent Orlando onto the second round of the playoffs.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

FOX SPORTS FLORIDA MAGIC CLASSIC WINS SCHEDULE

DAY

DATE

TIME

MATCHUP

REPLAY

Thu

4/30/20

8 PM

Magic at Bulls (1995 Game 3)

Sat, May 2 at 2:30 PM

Sat

5/2/20

5 PM

Magic vs Bulls (1995 Game 5)

Thu, May 7 at 8 PM

Sat

5/2/20

7 PM

Magic at Bulls (1995 Game 6)

Sun, May 3 at 10 AM

Tue

5/5/20

6 PM

Magic vs Pacers (1995 Game 1)

Sat, May 9 at 12 PM

Tue

5/5/20

8:30 PM

Magic vs Pacers (1995 Game 2)

Sun, May 9 at 2 PM

Thu

5/7/20

8 PM

Magic vs Pacers (1995 Game 5)

Sat, May 9 at 4:30 PM

Sat

5/9/20

8 PM

Magic vs. Pacers (1995 Game 7)

Sun, May 10 at 9:30 AM

Tue

5/12/20

6 PM

Magic vs 76ers (2009 Game 2)

Sat, May 16 at 12 PM

Tue

5/12/20

8:30 PM

Magic at 76ers (2009 Game 4)

Sat, May 16 at 2:30 PM

Thu

5/14/20

8 PM

Magic vs 76ers (2009 Game 5)

Sat, May 16 at 5 PM

Sat

5/16/20

7:30 PM

Magic at 76ers (2009 Game 6)

Sun, May 17 at 9:30 AM

Magic Gaming NBA 2K League Season Now Underway

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