1994–95 Orlando Magic season
The 1994–95 NBA season was the Magic's 6th season in the National Basketball Association. After building through the draft in previous years, the Magic made themselves even stronger by signing free agents Horace Grant and Brian Shaw. Grant gave the Magic one of the most dominant starting lineups in the NBA. Shaquille O'Neal continued to dominate the NBA with 29.3 points per game. The Magic easily won the Atlantic Division with a 57–25 record. They also finished with a 39–2 home record, tied for second best in NBA history. Second-year star Anfernee Hardaway was selected to play in the 1995 NBA All-Star Game along with O'Neal.
|1994–95 Orlando Magic season|
|Head coach||Brian Hill|
|Place||Division: 1st (Atlantic)
Conference: 1st (Eastern)
|Playoff finish||NBA Finals
(Lost to Rockets 0–4)
In the first round of the playoffs, the Magic overwhelmed the Boston Celtics with a 124–77 victory in Game 1. The Magic would eliminate the Celtics at the Boston Garden to win the series 3–1. These matches would be the final 2 basketball games ever played at the Garden.
In the second round, the Magic were matched up against the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls were on an emotional high as Michael Jordan had just returned from his baseball career to play basketball. Jordan was now wearing the number 45 for the Bulls. The Magic won the first game 94–91. Tensions rose when Nick Anderson indicated that Jordan was no longer the same player when Anderson was quoted by the media saying, "Number 23, he could just blow right by you! Number 45, he revs up, but doesn't really take off." The comment motivated Jordan to return to number 23 and the Bulls evened the series. In Game 5, the Magic won the game 103–95. The Magic would eliminate the Bulls in Game 6 as the Magic won 108–102 to advance to the Conference Finals.
The Magic were off to their first ever NBA Finals. The Magic faced off against the 6th-seeded and defending NBA Champion Houston Rockets. Shaq would be up against Hakeem Olajuwon in a battle of All-Star Centers. Game 1 was played in Orlando and the game was lost at the free throw line. Anderson missed four consecutive free throws with the Magic up by three at waning seconds of the game and the Rockets tied the game at the buzzer. The Rockets would then win Game 1 in overtime. The Magic would not recover from their Game 1 loss as the Rockets swept the series in 4 straight.
For the season, the Magic had new blue pinstripe road uniforms, while the black pinstripe jerseys became their alternate. Both uniforms lasted until 1998.
Orlando did not make another appearance in the NBA Finals until 2009.
|1||27||Brooks Thompson||SG||United States||Oklahoma State|
|2||31||Rodney Dent||PF/C||United States||Kentucky|
Orlando Magic roster
|x-New York Knicks||55||27||.671||2||29-12||26-15||23-5|
|New Jersey Nets||30||52||.366||27||20-21||10-31||13-15|
Record vs. opponentsEdit
|1994–95 NBA records|
East First RoundEdit
(1) Orlando Magic vs. (8) Boston Celtics: Magic win series 3-1
- Game 1 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (April 28): Orlando 124, Boston 77
- Game 2 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (April 30): Boston 99, Orlando 92
- Game 3 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 3): Orlando 82, Boston 77
- Game 4 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 5): Orlando 95, Boston 92
Last Playoff Meeting: Not available (first playoff series)
East Conference SemifinalsEdit
(1) Orlando Magic vs. (5) Chicago Bulls: Magic win series 4-2
- Game 1 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (May 7): Orlando 94, Chicago 91
- Game 2 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (May 10): Chicago 104, Orlando 94
- Game 3 @ United Center, Chicago (May 12): Orlando 110, Chicago 101
- Game 4 @ United Center, Chicago (May 14): Chicago 106, Orlando 95
- Game 5 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (May 16): Orlando 103, Chicago 95
- Game 6 @ United Center, Chicago (May 18): Orlando 108, Chicago 102
Last Playoff Meeting: Not available (first playoff series)
East Conference FinalsEdit
(1) Orlando Magic vs. (2) Indiana Pacers: Magic win series 4-3
- Game 1 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (May 23): Orlando 105, Indiana 101
- Game 2 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (May 25): Orlando 119, Indiana 114
- Game 3 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (May 27): Indiana 105, Orlando 100
- Game 4 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (May 29): Indiana 94, Orlando 93
- Game 5 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (May 31): Orlando 108, Indiana 106
- Game 6 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (June 2): Indiana 123, Orlando 96
- Game 7 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (June 4): Orlando 105, Indiana 81
Last Playoff Meeting: 1994 Eastern Conference First Round (Indiana won 3-0)
Olajuwon vs. O'NealEdit
Although both centers played well, Olajuwon is generally considered to have outplayed O'Neal. Olajuwon outscored O'Neal in every game of the series and became one of the few players in NBA history to score at least 30 points in every game of an NBA Finals series:
|1995 NBA Finals||Gm 1||Gm 2||Gm 3||Gm 4||Totals|
|Hakeem Olajuwon||31||34||31||35||32.8 ppg|
|Shaquille O'Neal||26||33||28||25||28.0 ppg|
|Game||Date||Home Team||Result||Road Team|
|Game 1||June 7||Orlando||118–120||Houston|
|Game 2||June 9||Orlando||106–117||Houston|
|Game 3||June 11||Houston||106–103||Orlando|
|Game 4||June 14||Houston||113–101||Orlando|
Rockets win series 4-0
Note: GP= Games played; REB= Rebounds; AST= Assists; STL = Steals; BLK = Blocks; PTS = Points; AVG = Average
Awards and honorsEdit
- Shaquille O'Neal, NBA Scoring Champion (2315 pts)
- Shaquille O'Neal, NBA Leader Points per Game (29.3)
- 1994-95 Orlando Magic
- "Magic Sign Grant Skiles Traded". Orlando Sentinel. July 30, 1994. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
- Orlando Magic (1989-Present)
- "1995 N.B.A PLAYOFFS; Bulls Change the Numbers That Matter". New York Times. May 11, 1995. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
- "1995 N.B.A. PLAYOFFS; Do You Believe in the Magic? The Indiana Pacers Do". New York Times. June 5, 1995. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
- "1995 N.B.A. PLAYOFFS; Rockets Sweep to 2d Straight Championship". New York Times. June 15, 1995. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
- 1994-95 NBA Season Summary - Basketball-Reference.com
- History of the NBA Finals: Hakeem Olajuwon: The NBA’s Best In The Mid ’90s, hollywoodsportsbook.com, accessed February 16, 2007.
- NBA Finals Records, Basketball.com, accessed February 16, 2007.