Hitting the road for the first time this season, the Orlando Magic made a stop in Chicago to take on the Bulls on Sunday night. Despite a late fourth quarter push, the Magic fell to 0-3 on the season, losing to the Bulls, 92-87.
Early on, the Magic came out looking to push the pace and get into their offensive sets as quickly as possible. Despite their best efforts, however, the Magic's offense struggled to consistently run their offense like they did on Friday night, when they jumped out early on the Oklahoma City Thunder. On the defensive end, the Magic struggled to consistently piece together stops, allowing the Bulls to shoot 52 percent in the quarter, while only forcing three turnovers. Despite their struggles on both ends, the Magic found themselves down just three, trailing the host Bulls 29-26.
Things didn't get any better for the Magic in the second quarter, especially on the offensive end. Lacking the great energy they had in their first two games at home, the Magic shot a woeful 5-of-19 in the quarter, relying heavily on isolations, something that ultimately cost them late on Friday night. Chicago was able to take full advantage of the Magic's struggles, pushing their lead up to as many as 14 in the quarter. Trailing 54-40 going into halftime, things were looking bleak for the Magic in their search of their first victory of the season.
Out of halftime, the Magic showed a slightly better energy level for the first few minutes, cutting into the Bulls lead, forcing an early timeout. As the quarter wore on, the Magic began to lose their energy, allowing the Bulls to push their lead back up to 14. Coach Scott Skiles went deep into his bench looking for a lift, bringing veteran big man Jason Smith into the game late in the quarter.
Still looking for a spark, Skiles stuck with many of his bench players heading into the final quarter. Despite yet another slow start in the quarter, things began turning around late in the quarter. Behind hot shooting from Smith, who scored all eight of his points in the quarter, and high energy plays from Shabazz Napier and Aaron Gordon, the Magic cut the Bulls lead down to one. However, Chicago answered, pushing their lead back out to six before a Victor Oladipo three cut it back down to three with under a 20 seconds remaining. Jimmy Butler knocked down a pair of free throws, to all but lock up the victory for the Bulls.
Four Bulls finished in double figures, led by Nikola Miortic and Pau Gasol's 16. Jimmy Butler added 14 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals. Reserve swingman Doug McDermott rounded out the group, finishing with an early season high 12.
Evan Fournier led the way for the Magic, finishing with a game high 19. Nikola Vucevic notched his first double-double of the season, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Victor Oladipo added 13, with Tobias Harris finishing with 11.