Bulls Shut Down Magic 85-59


The Orlando Magic were no match for the suffocating defense of the Chicago Bulls as the Bulls cruised to an 85-59 victory Monday night.

Playing without Derrick Rose, John Lucas III scored 20 points in just 21 minutes off of the bench. Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 24 points and 13 rebounds while Dwight Howard had 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Stan Van Gundy called Orlando’s offense “pathetic” and said the players have to “take responsibility in regards to Orlando’s turnover issues. By calling the offense pathetic, Van Gundy probably found the right word.

Orlando shot 24-of-68 from the field, posted an effective field goal percentage of 38.2%, shot 4-of-20 from beyond the arc (20.0%) and 7-of-18 from the charity stripe (38.9%). They also turned the ball over 19 times, resulting in 25 Chicago points. Orlando’s offensive rating for the game was dismal 69.5.

Dwight Howard had some success offensively especially early on in the game and again during the third quarter but as the game continued to progress, the Magic had trouble simply getting the ball into Howard. The Bulls, much like the Heat, are a team that likes to face up Howard and that does appear to give him problems at times. Clearly, he’s been able to fight through it in the past – he’s had two huge games against both Chicago and Miami this season.

The Magic did play pretty good defense throughout – the Bulls scored only 85 points with over a quarter of them coming straight from Magic turnovers. The Bulls also only posted an effective field goal percentage of 48.7%. Two stretches in the first half really turned the game. With the Magic leading 14-13 at the 1:42 mark, Lucas made three straight three-pointers to give the Bulls a 22-14 lead at the end of the quarter. Then in the second quarter Orlando was able to cut a 12-point to 38-31 on a Hedo Turkoglu three-pointer before the Bulls took over, ending the half on a 10-2 run to take a 48-33 lead into the break.

  • Something is clearly wrong with Ryan Anderson – not only did Anderson have another poor shooting night (10 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the field), but he was absolutely abused on the defensive end for the second straight night. Sunday it was Chris Bosh and Monday it was Carlos Boozer who torched him for 24 points. Anderson just doesn’t look like he’s really into games right now for whatever reason.
  • Van Gundy again took the blame for Orlando’s performance, saying “I’ve got to take responsibility for games like this on back to back nights, it’s just not good enough obviously.”
  • After the game, ESPN Florida Insider Carson Ingle informed me that Daniel Orton, who was not inserted into the game despite the lopsided score, was yelled at by Glen Davis as he walked to the locker room. That’s probably what prompted Davis to tell reporters “Me, the team, the most important guy all the way to the least important guy have to buy in.”
  • Afterwards everyone stressed effort. Howard even told reporters “They played harder than us” and told reporters “When we play hard, we can beat any team in the league.”
  • There isn’t one player to single out. When you play this poorly, the entire team has to take the blame.

Next Up: The Magic will welcome back Marcin Gortat and the Phoenix Suns Wednesday.

Final Thought: Wow, that was brutal – one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HtD app here)