Luol Deng and DeQuan Jones - Mike DiNovo - US Presswire
Orlando did a terrific job through three quarters, as they held the lead for the majority of the game up to that point, but Chicago's tenacious defense and hot shooting in the final quarter did the Magic in.
Arron Afflalo led the Magic, scoring 19 of his 28 points in the second half, shooting 10 of 17 for the game. Nikola Vucevic and Glen Davis each had 16 points and 10 rebounds, but Davis's inefficiency did in the Magic. His outside shot was not falling, and his inside game really struggled, as the length of Bulls' center Joakim Noah gave Davis fits. Davis had five of his shots blocked in the low post, mostly by Noah, and shot just 7 of 22 for the game. J.J. Redick, after shooting lights-out in the first two games, shot just 4 of 11 off the bench for 10 points. E'Twaun Moore added 17 points along with 5 rebounds.
The Magic held their largest lead of the game at 66-59 with 3:26 remaining in the third quarter, but the Bulls cut their deficit to 70-68 entering the fourth. Chicago took the lead for good at 72-70 with 9:15 remaining, and held their largest lead at 91-81 with 2:35 remaining. The Magic had one more surge left in them, as Redick and Afflalo each hit 3-pointers along with a Moore jumper to cut the deficit to four. The Magic had a chance to cut the Bulls' lead to two with just under a minute left, but Davis inexplicably fired up a three with plenty of time left on the shot clock which missed badly. The Bulls got the rebound, and that was the game.
In that fourth quarter, The Bulls outscored the Magic 31-23 on 57% shooting, compared to 37.5% shooting for the Magic. Luol Deng, Noah, and point guard Nate Robinson off the bench were huge sparks in the quarter for the Bulls. Deng led the way for the Bulls with 23 points and 8 rebounds, Noah added 20 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks, and Robinson scored 11 points with 6 assists. The Bulls' bench outscored the Magic bench 29-14, as Taj Gibson scored 12 points to lead the Bulls' reserves.
The game started out as if it were going to be a blowout, as the Bulls jumped out to a 21-13 lead, with the Magic making just 4 of their first 15 shots. Redick then came off the bench to score 5 quick points to get the Magic going. In the second quarter, the Magic's transition game gave the Bulls problems, as backup point guard Ish Smith had 5 assists in the quarter to help the Magic to a 48-45 halftime lead.
The Bulls outshot the Magic 48% to 42%, with the Magic continuing to shoot well on 3s, finishing 8 for 19 from long range (42.1%).
Overall, a good effort from the Magic against a top defensive team, but the Bulls' depth and defense was just too much for the Magic in that final quarter.