Coming off another abysmal performance on Tuesday night, the Orlando Magic returned home to host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. The Magic stepped it up on the defensive end, knocking the Bulls off, 102-89.
As has been the case of late, the Magic came out hot on the offensive end, jumping on the struggling Bulls early and often. The Magic shot the ball well for much of the quarter, knocking down five of their seven three-pointers en route to 52 percent shooting for the quarter. Despite their strong play on offense, the Magic's defense saw pockets of poor play once again, allowing the Bulls to get to the rim seemingly at will, leading to them scoring half of their points (12) in the paint in the quarter. After one, Orlando's strong offense, coupled with okay defensive play gave the Magic a 10 point lead, 33-23 after one.
With a 10 point lead, the Magic were in good control of the game early. While they began missing more shots, they turned it up on the defensive end, allowing them to push their lead out to as many as 15 in the opening half. The Magic took advantage of their ability to get out on the break, scoring 16 fast break points in the half. In a relatively clean game -- the two sides combined for just eight first half turnovers -- the Magic were able to not lose any ground in the second quarter, carrying a 10 point, 60-50 at the half.
Out of halftime, the Magic came out white hot, pushing their lead to 20 a few minutes into the quarter. As they have done previously, Orlando relaxed, allowing the Bulls to cut their lead back down to as few as 14 late in the quarter. the Magic answered, pushing it back up to 17 by the end of the quarter, despite some struggles shooting the ball continuing to slow down their offensive effort. Thanks to heightened play on defense, the Magic took an 84-67 lead into the final quarter.
Turning to the bench, the Magic saw their lead, and energy level diminish, forcing Scott Skiles to quickly turn back to his starters. Once reinserted, Orlando's starters balanced the ship, pushing their lead back out to a game-high 21. With time slowly ticking away, the Magic were able to cruise to an easy win.
Nikola Vucevic led all scorers, finishing the night with 24. Making his third start, Mario Hezonja scored a career-high 21 to go along with five assists. Victor Oladipo added 17 points and seven rebounds, with Aaron Gordon scoring 13 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.
Derrick Rose led the way for the Bulls, finishing with 16. Pau Gasol added 12 on the night, with Doug McDermott adding 11.