Magic Topple Injury-Riddled Bulls 102-89

By on March 2, 2016

magicORLANDO, Fla – The Orlando Magic finally found their stride on Wednesday night, beating the Chicago Bulls at home by a score of 102-89.

With both teams on the second game of a back-to-back, Orlando took control early – leading by as much as 22. Injury-riddled Chicago would never lead after of the first minute of the game.

Used to being on the other end of these kinds of games, the Magic were able to tighten up their much-maligned defense which allowed 109 points per game in February.

Dealing with their own defensive struggles, The Bulls came off of a game in Miami on Tuesday night where they gave up 129 points to the Heat.

Part of this slide was due to the fact that Chicago took the floor with an incredibly depleted roster. They would be missing four of their top-six players in the rotation with All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler, former Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, starting power forward Taj Gibson, and key contributor Nikola Mirotic sidelined for this one.

Without starting forward Evan Fournier, the Magic were lead by their lottery picks from the previous two drafts, forwards Aaron Gordon and Mario Hezonja. Gordon, an athletic rebounder, finished one shy of his career best with 15 boards. Hezonja would break new ground, scoring a rookie-season best 21 points on 17 shots.

Offense has been Hezonja’s strength all year, but against the Bulls it was his defense that took a big step in the right direction. “I thought it was overall his best defensive game,” said head coach Scott Skiles on the rookie’s performance, he did a nice job chasing people, he was pretty aware”.

During the point-hemorrhaging month of February, the veteran players around the league repeatedly tested Mario’s defense. “I love it”, Hezonja said when asked about being targeted by opposing teams. The Croatian-born 20-year-old says he never shies away from challenges, “You know me; I’m never happy with what I do individually…it was okay but I’m still not happy”.

In the end, the Magic would just have more in the tank than the Bulls – who showed few signs of life throughout the 48-minute contest.

The Magic (27-33) will stay home for their next one, taking on the Phoenix Suns (15-45) at the Amway Center on Friday at 7 before heading on their west coast road trip.

 

 

Chicago 23 27 17 22 89
Orlando 33 27 24 18 102
Player Pos Min FGM-FGA FTM-FTA 3PM-3PA +/- OR Reb A Blk Stl TO PF Pts
M. Dunleavy F 21:28 3-9 0-0 2-3 -8 2 6 1 0 1 1 1 8
C. Bairstow F 10:08 4-5 0-0 0-0 -4 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 8
P. Gasol C 27:45 5-13 2-2 0-1 -18 0 5 1 2 0 1 2 12
E. Moore G 28:07 4-9 1-1 0-1 -21 1 3 3 0 0 1 1 9
D. Rose G 24:51 7-14 2-2 0-0 -14 0 4 6 0 1 2 0 16
D. McDermott 32:45 5-15 0-2 1-5 +1 2 4 0 0 0 0 2 11
J. Holiday 27:57 2-10 1-2 1-3 +4 0 4 4 0 3 0 2 6
B. Portis 26:15 4-11 1-2 0-0 -10 0 6 5 0 0 1 3 9
T. Snell 19:03 1-3 0-0 1-2 +3 0 5 1 0 0 0 3 3
A. Brooks 16:38 3-10 0-0 1-4 -6 0 4 2 0 1 0 1 7
C. Felicio 5:03 0-0 0-0 0-0 +8 0 5 1 0 0 1 0 0
J. Butler  DNP — LEFT KNEE STRAIN
T. Gibson  DNP — RIGHT HAMSTRING
N. Mirotic  DNP — INACTIVE
J. Noah  DNP — INACTIVE
Totals 240 38-99
(.384)
7-11
(.636)
6-19
(.316)
5 48 24 2 6 7 17 89

 

Orlando
Player Pos Min FGM-FGA FTM-FTA 3PM-3PA +/- OR Reb A Blk Stl TO PF Pts
M. Hezonja F 37:09 9-17 0-0 3-7 +23 0 5 2 1 1 0 2 21
A. Gordon F 33:12 2-6 8-10 1-4 +16 2 15 3 0 0 0 4 13
N. Vucevic C 32:31 10-24 3-3 1-1 +18 2 7 4 0 1 1 0 24
V. Oladipo G 35:35 6-12 5-6 0-2 +24 1 7 1 1 1 3 1 17
E. Payton G 33:29 4-9 0-0 1-1 +23 0 5 12 1 1 3 2 9
C.J. Watson 17:15 0-6 0-0 0-1 -14 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0
J. Smith 12:44 4-7 0-0 0-0 +1 2 7 0 1 0 1 0 8
E. Ilyasova 12:03 3-8 1-3 1-1 +3 1 7 0 0 1 0 1 8
B. Jennings 11:46 1-5 0-0 0-1 -4 0 1 3 0 0 0 2 2
D. Marble 6:01 0-1 0-0 0-1 -7 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
D. Dedmon 2:45 0-0 0-0 0-0 -6 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
S. Napier 2:45 0-1 0-0 0-1 -6 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
A. Nicholson 2:45 0-1 0-0 0-1 -6 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
E. Fournier  DNP — INACTIVE
Totals 240 39-97
(.402)
17-22
(.773)
7-21
(.333)
8 59 25 6 5 10 14 102

 

Officials: Sean Corbin, Matt Boland, Eric Dalen
Time of Game: 2:03
Technicals
Chicago
A. Brooks (8:06 – 4th Qtr)
A. Brooks (6:31 – 4th Qtr)
Categories: Basketball, Featured, Sports
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