Magic news: Penny Hardaway wants more credit for beating Michael Jordan’s Bulls in 1995
1995 was a big year for the Magic. It featured the team’s first three playoff series victories, including those over the Boston Celtics, Bulls, and Indiana Pacers. As a result, Orlando claimed its first Eastern Conference title. Ultimately, though, Hardaway and the Magic were swept by the Houston Rockets in the Finals.
As part of a recent interview with The Athletic, Hardaway noted that he and his Magic teammates don’t get enough credit for their accomplishments:
“It comes up every now and then. I think if we would’ve finished off the championship, maybe they would’ve talked about it more. But it is history. What was the last team to beat the Chicago Bulls in a playoff series? It was us,” Hardaway said, via The Athletic. “That’s history for us and our kids and our grandkids. But, no, we don’t get enough credit for that. But we didn’t finish the deal. Maybe that’s why we don’t get that credit.”
The Magic had a solid team in those days. With the outstanding duo of Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway, Orlando was a team on the rise. And let’s not forget Scott Skiles, Nick Anderson, Dennis Scott, and Horace Grant, who came over from Jordan’s Bulls.
Shaq finished the series against the Bulls averaging 24 points and 13 rebounds. Penny racked up averages of 19 points and eight assists, while Grant averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds. Anderson and Scott both turned in 15 points per game.
Jordan, who had played in just 17 regular-season games before the start of the ’95 Playoffs, was still a force to be reckoned with. His Airness, wearing No. 45 after announcing his return to the NBA, averaged 31 points and seven assists throughout the series, shooting 47 percent from the field. In the end, though, the Magic handed him his first playoff exit since the 1989–90 campaign.