Orlando Magic vs. Chicago Bulls (Feb. 5, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic are still relying on Evan Fournier to lead the offensive attack. And a trade still seems to be in the offing. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic are still relying on Evan Fournier to lead the offensive attack. And a trade still seems to be in the offing. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic wrap up their homestand with a pair of games against the Chicago Bulls as the team seeks stability and momentum before the West Coast trip.

Chicago Bulls (8-12) vs. Orlando Magic (8-14)


7 p.m./FOX Sports Florida




$10-$773 on StubHub

2021 Season Series:

Tonight in Orlando; Feb. 6 in Orlando

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OMD Prediction

Any time a team gets to take a breath this season, it feels like it is much needed. The Orlando Magic had their first scheduled back-to-back days off (they had a previous one because of a game postponement) this season. The Magic used it to sign a new point guard and hopefully come out a bit more organized with the second unit (which has actually outperformed the first unit for much of the season). The Magic are trying to get their footing again.

The Chicago Bulls have played with a lot more offensive energy this year under Billy Donovan. Zach LaVine has put together an All-Star caliber season and they have a ton of shooters to worry about. Chicago has staked a spot in the playoff race. But the Magic will have an advantage in the paint with Nikola Vucevic. If Orlando does a good job attacking the paint, there is space to score against this team.

104. 24. 108. 38. Prediction

3 Keys To Watch

Win the paint

Orlando Magic fans were a tad bit annoyed with the All-Star Game returns. Nikola Vucevic, who ranks 20th in PER, 12th in box plus-minus and seventh in VORP according to Basketball-Reference, was not among the top-10 in early returns for frontcourt players. Vucevic’s All-Star bid in the fan voting was always a long shot and his bid is dependent on the team winning to sway the coaches in his favor.

Vucevic should view this game against the Chicago Bulls as a chance to build that resume and put in a strong game — on top of the other strong games he has had. The Bulls tend to play small with Daniel Gafford starting at center and Thaddeus Young taking his turn at center. Young is a very good defender, but his lack of size has enabled teams to make a living in the paint.

The Bulls give up 47.0 points in the paint. This is an area the team can almost certainly attack and Vucevic can learn a lot from how the New York Knicks’ Julius Randle attacked that defense for 23 points and 27 points in their recent pair of games.

LaVine Van Vleet

The noise from Tuesday’s record-setting performance from Fred VanVleet has calmed down. Everyone has moved on and the Orlando Magic are happy to take a few days to catch their breath and re-center themselves during this crazed season. But it is still out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Zach LaVine has had an incredible season to this point, averaging a career-best 26.5 points per game on a career-best 60.0-percent effective field goal percentage. That has been a big part of the Bulls’ early offensive success. LaVine is someone who can hit from the outside and take over games with his scoring, something the Magic simply do not have and are susceptible to still.

Orlando is going to need a good gameplan to slow him down while also being concerned with the Bulls’ motion-based offense. The team has struggled to protect the paint this season. This Bulls team can spread the Magic out, shooting 37.5-percent from beyond the arc (11th in the league). Orlando is going to have to be sharp defensively.

Free Masons

Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford made it pretty clear during the team’s practice availability Thursday that Frank Mason is going to come in and play meaningful minutes immediately for the team. There is simply no time to waste and no room for waiting. The new acquisition is going to jump right in.

The Magic have essentially operated without a second point guard since Markelle Fultz’s injury and Aaron Gordon’s injury put the team in a major bind. Despite some promising signs from Jordan Bone, the Magic opted to move on and bring in a steadier hand in the form of 2020 G-League MVP Frank Mason.

Next. Dwayne Bacon finding consistency and focus. dark

Mason has shown an ability to get into the lane and finish and he hit from deep during his time in the G-League. But he is completely unproven in the NBA. Now he will get the chance to prove how much he has grown since his last NBA stint. And he will get consistent playing time.