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Bulls 85, Magic 59: Stifling Chicago Defense Embarrasses Orlando in Rout

Mar 19, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer (5) drives around Orlando Magic power forward Ryan Anderson (33) during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
Mar 19, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer (5) drives around Orlando Magic power forward Ryan Anderson (33) during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

It would have been hard for the Orlando Magic to be more offensively inept than they were against Miami Sunday night, but the Magic indeed were with an historically inept offensive night against the Chicago Bulls, who were playing without reigning MVP Derrick Rose, in the 85-59 Bulls' victory. The 59 points that the Magic scored were the fewest points scored by a Bulls' opponent in Bulls' franchise history. The 59 points tied for the third worst offensive performance in Magic franchise history, and the 38.9% free throw shooting from the Magic was the fourth-worst in a game in Magic franchise history. It was also the first time in Magic franchise history that the Magic scored fewer than 70 points in a game while shooting less than 40% from the field and free throw line. It was only the sixth game in the NBA in the last 27 years that a team had such an abysmal stat line.

Carlos Boozer and John Lucas III proved to be an unstoppable one-two punch for the Bulls. Both of them certainly stepped up offensively in Rose's absence, with Boozer scoring 24 points (12 of 18 FGs) on a myriad of mid-range jumpers, and a beautiful baseline move past Dwight Howard for an easy basket, along with 13 rebounds. Lucas came off the bench to score 20 points (8 of 13 FGs, 4 of 7 on threes), including 3 three-pointers in a 51 second span in the first quarter. Howard had a double-double of 18 points, 12 rebounds, while Ryan Anderson was the only other Magic player in double figures with 10 points.

Team Pace Efficiency eFG% FT Rate OReb% TO Rate
Bulls 85.2 99.8 48.7% 10.1 28.2 18.8
Magic 85.2 69.3 38.2% 10.3 21.3 22.3
Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.
One would have no idea that the Magic were about to have one of their worst offensive games in franchise history after the Magic started out scoring the first 5 points of the game after a Jason Richardson layup and Ryan Anderson three-pointer. The Magic led 14-12 after a Howard bucket down low, and led 14-13 before Lucas came off the bench with his three-point barrage put the Bulls up for good. The Bulls led 22-14 after one, with the Magic making just 33.3% of their shots.

Boozer scored 10 of his 16 first-half points in the second quarter as Chicago extended their lead to 48-33 at the half. Lucas had 11 points in the half. Howard and Anderson each scored 8 points for the Magic. The Magic had no answer for Boozer, who seemingly scored at will on his mid-range jumpers. Meanwhile, poor shooting and turnovers plagued the Magic. The Magic shot 38.9% in the half along with 11 turnovers.

Things would get only worse for the Magic in the second half. The Magic had every chance to get back in the game in the third quarter, as Chicago scored only 3 points in the first 6:27 of the third. The Magic could only score 10 points in this span to cut their deficit to 51-43, which would be the closest they would get. The Bulls extended their lead to 60-48 after three. The Bulls scored just 12 third-quarter points on 25% shooting, but the Magic scored only 15 points on 32% shooting.

The Bulls blew the Magic out in the fourth, outscoring them 25-11. Perhaps the most embarrassing moment of the game for the Magic came with 6:54 remaining, when Bulls' center Joakim Noah had the ball at the baseline and went in for the dunk, as the Magic's Glen Davis came over in a futile attempt to block the shot. Instead, Davis fouled Noah and wound up falling on the floor as Noah dunked and made the free throw to complete the three-point play.

The Magic looked absolutely nothing like the team that shocked the Bulls in Chicago just 11 days ago. There was very little ball movement on offense, as the Magic had only 9 assists for the game, and very little movement away from the ball. Turnovers continue to plague the Magic, as they committed 19. Most of the Magic's three point attempts were either forced or covered well by the Bulls' smothering defense, while Howard had limited success down low. One could use the excuse that the Magic were coming off a tough loss to Miami on Sunday as to their awful performance against the Bulls, but certainly not to this extent.

Other game notes:

-Other than Howard, the other four Magic starters combined to shoot just 12 of 37 from the floor for 28 points. Jameer Nelson had 5 turnovers to 1 assist.

-Davis had 5 points and 7 boards off the bench, while J.J. Redick struggled as he scored 2 points on 1 of 7 shooting.

-The Magic's four guards (Jason Richardson, Nelson, Redick, Chris Duhon) combined to shoot 6 of 28 (21.4%) for 15 points.

-The Bulls' starting guards, C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer, combined for 4 points on 1 for 12 shooting.

-Bulls' center Noah scored 9 points, along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

-The Magic scored 7 points off 16 Bulls' turnovers, while the Bulls scored 23 points off the Magic's 19 turnovers.

-The Magic shot 4 of 20 on threes, with the four three pointers tying for the second-fewest in a game this season.

-This was Bulls' coach Tom Thibodeau's 100th career win, which is the fastest that any coach has won 100 games in NBA history.