April 18, 2014
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Overlooked and begging for respect all season, the Orlando Magic can no longer be ignored. After 14 frustrating years, they've returned to the NBA finals.
Dwight Howard dominated inside for 40 points, Rashard Lewis added 18 and the Magic, a team that can make 3-pointers drop from thin air, hit 12 in a 103-90 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night.
The Magic will be making their first finals appearance since 1995, one year before Shaquille O'Neal bolted as a free agent for Los Angeles, leaving this Florida franchise in ruins.
It's been a long, slow climb back, but Orlando has been rebuilt and will meet the Lakers on Thursday night at the Staples Center in Game 1.