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Doc Rivers' Top 5 Wins as Orlando Magic Head Coach

The Five Best Wins From Doc Rivers' Tenure With the Orlando Magic

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | On Wednesday night, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers will return to where his NBA head coaching career began, Orlando.

It was nearly 10 years ago that the Magic fired Rivers. Rivers would go on to have a very successful career as the head coach of the Boston Celtics, appearing in two NBA Finals while winning one.

Rivers is in his first year as the head man in Los Angeles and as he returns to the city where it all began on Wednesday night, here is a look back at Rivers' five best victories as the head coach of the Orlando Magic:

5. Detroit Pistons 94, Orlando Magic 103
November 3, 1999

It was just Rivers' second game as head coach of the Orlando Magic and his first at home. With a team lacking in star power, Rivers earned his first NBA win as head coach on November 3, 1999. Orlando overcame a one-point halftime deficit and 30 points from Detroit star forward Grant Hill to notch the victory.

Six Magic players scored in double-figures, led by Pat Garrity, who came off the Magic bench to score 20 points on 9-for-15 shooting. Orlando's unquestioned leader, Darrell Armstrong also had a solid night for the Magic, finishing with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals in the win. Despite a roster of no-names, Rivers would guide the Magic to a 41-41 record that season narrowly missed the playoffs.

4. Los Angeles Lakers 102, Orlando Magic 112
November 27, 2002

The Los Angeles Lakers were coming off of three straight world championships, and in Rivers' era the Magic had never defeated the Lakers. The contest featured a matchup to remember as Orlando's Tracy McGrady and L.A.'s Kobe Bryant each went off for 38 points.

Lakers center and former Magic star Shaquille O'Neal added 28, but the Magic proved too deadly from beyond the three-point arc, making 10 of their 19 attempts from downtown. Mike Miller finished with 22 points for the Magic while knocking down four three-pointers. It would be Rivers' only win over Los Angeles as the head coach of the Magic, but little did he know that he would go on to face L.A. twice in the NBA Finals as head coach of the Boston Celtics, including in 2008 when Boston defeated the Lakers in six games.

3. Detroit Pistons 92, Orlando Magic 100
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 4
April 27, 2003

With a two-games-to-one series lead, the Magic hosted the Eastern Conference's top-seed, the Detroit Pistons, in a pivotal Game 4. Detroit raced to an early 29-19 lead, but the Magic dominated the second and third quarters to cease control of the game. Magic guard Tracy McGrady led all scorers with 27 points while forward Drew Gooden added 20 points and 13 rebounds. Darrell Armstrong came off the bench to add 18 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting from the field.

The Magic shot 50 percent from the floor and forced 17 Detroit turnovers to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Unfortunately, for Orlando, the Pistons won the final three games to take the series and it would be another four years before the Magic would win their first playoff series since 1996.

2. Milwaukee Bucks 116, Orlando Magic 121 (Overtime)
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 3
April 28, 2001

After dropping a pair of games in Milwaukee, the Magic returned home facing elimination in what would be their first home playoff game in four years. After trailing by six at the break, Orlando used a big third quarter to take a six-point lead. Still, the Magic trailed 108-107 with 15 seconds to play when Tracy McGrady came through with a three-point play to give Orlando a 110-108 lead. A jumper by Ray Allen would force overtime, but four points from McGrady and clutch jumpers from Dee Brown and Pat Garrity in the extra period would keep the Magic's season alive.

McGrady would finish with a game-high 42 points and 10 assists while playing all but three minutes. The Magic however, would be eliminated after falling in Game 4 three days later.

1. Orlando Magic 85, New York Knicks 83 (Overtime)
October 29, 2003

It was the season-opener for the 2003-04 NBA season and while no one knew it at the time, it would be Doc Rivers' final victory as head coach of the Magic -- and it came in dramatic fashion. Orlando trailed by as many as 10 in the final period, but held New York scoreless for the final 3:54 and scored the final 10 points in regulation to force overtime.

Tracy McGrady's layup with under a second to play forced overtime where a three-pointer from Tyronn Lue would put the Magic ahead for good. New York's Keith Van Horn led all scorers with 29 points while McGrady paced Orlando with 26. The Magic were 1-0, but would go on to lose their next 19 games and finish the season with a record of just 21-61. After leading the Magic to three straight playoff appearances, Rivers was fired on November 18, 2003, after the losing streak hit 10.

Mike Ferguson is a central Florida native and an Orlando Magic contributor for Yahoo Sports.

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