Magic Dominate Bulls 107-87


The Orlando Magic played one of their most complete games of the season, dominating the Bulls from start to finish for a 107-87 victory. Orlando got an early 20-6 lead and never looked back, building a 24-point first quarter lead. Luol Deng tried to keep the Bulls in the game by scoring 23 points. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

The first quarter went about as well as it possible could have for the Magic. They came out with great energy and great effort and they dominated the quarter on both ends of the court. On the first possession, Dwight Howard hit a hook shot from about 10 feet out that started the attack. The Magic used very balanced scoring to shoot 15-of-22 from the field. A couple of early drives and layups opened up the three-pointer– Orlando was 5-of-6 from beyond the arc in the first quarter. Six Magic players scored at least five points in the quarter led by Dwight Howard’s nine. The Magic outrebounded Chicago 13-8 and had 10 assists to four turnovers while forcing seven Chicago turnovers. Unfortunately for the Bulls, Derrick Rose was injured with 9:36 to go in the first quarter when he made basket and drew a foul on Dwight Howard. Rose did not return in the quarter. The Magic held the Bulls to 6-of-19 shooting from the field and had a 41-17 lead after one.

In the second quarter, Orlando’s defense got a little lax, which could have been expected.  The good news is that the Magic really didn’t let the Bulls back into the game like they did after getting a big lead against the Washington Wizards last week. Orlando continued to show good balance on the offensive end, but the shots did not fall as easily. The Magic shot 8-of-20 in the period and just 2-of-9 from downtown. They did a good job of getting to the free throw line, going 8-of-9 from there. The Bulls shot 10-of-22 in the quarter, had only two turnovers and actually outscored the Magic 28-26 to cut Orlando’s halftime lead to 67-45. Luol Deng had a great half on offense, scoring 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

After allowing the Bulls to close the gap to 19 early in the quarter, the Magic went on a 16-6 run to give them their biggest lead of the game at 29, 89-60. The Bulls closed out the quarter with four straight points but the Magic still led 89-64. The Magic turned their defensive intensity back up after a lackluster second quarter on that end of the floor. They held the Bulls to 8-of-22 shooting and outscored them 22-19. The Magic shot 8-of-15 from the field in the period. Through three quarters, Orlando had four plays in double figures, had seven players with at least seven points and had nine players score.

The final quarter was very uneventful. Both teams emptied their benches and let their backups close out the game – Orlando used Marcin Gortat, Brandon Bass, Mickael Pietrus, J.J. Redick, and Jason Williams. Anthony Johnson did not get into the game. The Bulls outscored the Magic 23-18 in the closing quarter. Dwight Howard, Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson all sat for the entire fourth quarter.


There wasn’t much to dislike about this game for the Magic.

Orlando got a very balanced effort on offense. Seven players, including all five starters scored in double figures and Mickael Pietrus finished just a point shy with nine. 11 Magic players played in the game all 11 scored. Dwight Howard led the way with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting.  Howard also grabbed 14 rebounds in just 25 minutes of play.

Vince Carter kept up his recent string of efficient shooting. Carter played just 27 minutes, but scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting and went 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Carter only attempted two free throws after attempting just four during his 48-point performance on Monday night. You’d like to see him get to the line more, but he’s done a fine job of getting to the stripe during the season and I expect those numbers to pick back up as he continues to be aggressive.

After a 67-point first half that saw the Magic shoot 54.8% from the field,  Orlando scored just 40 second-half points  and shot just 14-of-37 of the field to finish shooting 46.8% on the night. Their shooting mainly took a dip in the final quarter where they shot just 6-of-22 but by that point, every starter was out of the game and the Magic already had Cleveland on their mind.

Keep in mind that Chicago entered the game as the league’s seventh most efficient defense.

Orlando’s defense also played very well and had good energy throughout the game. They had some trouble controlling Luol Deng and had a bad stretch during the second quarter but for the most part, they were very good. The Bulls shot just 36.8% from the field.

It was nice to see that Orlando still had good energy in the final quarter. At the 5:31 mark with the Magic up 23, Mickael Pietrus ran down a James Johnson layup and blocked it from behind. On the next possession, Marcin Gortat blocked a layup attempt by Devin Brown.

Orlando also dominated the boards, outrebounding Chicago 51-41. Five players had at least five boards and Marcin Gortat grabbed 12 rebounds off of the bench.

Game Notes:

  • Dwight Howard 18, Vince Carter 15, Matt Barnes, 14, Rashard Lewis 11, Jameer Nelson 11, Jason Williams 10, J.J. Redick 10 all scored in double figures.
  • The Bulls had just four players in double figures.
  • Orlando made 21 of their 25 free throws.
  • The Magic hit 12 three-pointers to Chicago’s four.
  • Both teams had 34 points in the paint.
  • The Magic still have some turnover issues – they had 17 on Wednesday night.

Next Up: The Magic play in Cleveland Thursday night on TNT.

Final Thought: Not only was it good to see the Magic hold a big league, but it was good to see no player play more than 28 minutes when they must play LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers less than 24 hours after the completion of this one.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)