The NBA unveiled the 2019-20 schedule on Monday and teams now know where they will begin their season.
Fresh off their first playoff appearance since 2012, the Orlando Magic managed just one ESPN contest and a couple NBA TV slots. Orlando however, will open the season against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 26.
The new schedule led one to look at Orlando’s season-opening history. The Magic have defeated the Miami Heat in each of the last two season openers.
Record in openers: 17-13
The opener often isn’t an indicator of how the entire season will play out, but the Magic have started off on the right foot more often than not.
Most common opponent in openers: Miami Heat and Washington Wizards
The Magic have opened the season with division foes Washington and Miami each five times. Orlando had played the Heat in each of the last three openers. The Magic last opened with Washington during the 2015-16 campaign.
In season openers, Orlando is 4-1 against the Heat and 2-3 against the Bullets/Wizards.
Largest margin of victory in openers: 29, twice
The Magic’s largest margin of victory on opening night in 29 points on two occasions. The first came in a 114-85 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 30, 2001. Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill combined for 45 points in the win.
Orlando opened the Amway Center on Oct. 28, 2010 with a 112-83 victory over the Washington Wizards. Dwight Howard finished with 23 points on an uber-efficient 7-for-9 shooting to go with a game-high 10 rebounds.
Most lopsided loss in openers: 17, at New Orleans Pelicans, Oct. 29, 2014
The largest loss in an opener for the Magic came a year prior to their closest loss. Despite a 17-point, 23-rebound performance from Nikola Vucevic and 25 points from Tobias Harris, the Magic were no match for the New Orleans Pelicans in a 101-84 defeat.
Anthony Davis finished with 26 points and 17 boards to lead the Pelicans. Former Magic forward Ryan Anderson added 22 points. Omer Asik added 14 points and 17 rebounds.
Closest win in openers: one vs. Milwaukee, Nov. 3, 2004
The closest win ever for Orlando in an opener came during the 2003-04 season against the Milwaukee Bucks, 93-92. Michael Redd had seemingly delivered the Bucks with a jumper to put them in front by a point with 3.5 seconds to play.
In his Orlando debut, guard Steve Francis won the game for Orlando with a lay-in just before the buzzer. Francis finished with 26 points and seven assists in his Magic debut. Redd led Milwaukee with 19 points.
Closest loss in openers: one vs. Washington, Oct. 28, 2015
Five years after tying their largest margin of victory in an opener, the Orlando Magic suffered their closest loss ever in a season opener, falling to the Wizards by an 88-87 margin. The Wizards closed the game on a 6-0 run capped by a John Wall basket with less than 13 seconds to play.
The Magic looked to have answered on the other end when former Orlando center Marcin Gortat was called for goaltending. Replay would overturn the call before Nikola Vucevic missed a jumper as time expired. Victor Oladipo paced Orlando with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Washington’s Bradley Beal led all scorers with 24 points.
Best Magic performance in openers: Nick Anderson, Nov. 6, 1992 vs. Miami
Orlando Magic guard and the first played drafted in franchise history, Nick Anderson, had one of the best performances of his career in the 1992-93 opener at home against the Miami Heat.
On 17-for-26 shooting, Anderson finished with 42 points to go with eight rebounds, six assists and five steals. With the contest tied at 91 after three quarters, Anderson poured in 16 points in the final period to lead the 110-100 victory. Shaquille O’Neal would score 42 points for the Magic in the season opener against the Heat the following season.
Longest streak in openers: Five wins, 2000-04
From the start of the Tracy McGrady era to the start of the Dwight Howard era, the Orlando Magic started 1-0 in five straight seasons. Victories during that stretch came over the Wizards, Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks and Bucks. The longest losing streak for the Magic in openers is four from 2013-16.