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Magic 111, Bulls 89: Orlando controls game from tip, easily takes down Chicago

The Magic got a needed, easy victory on Saturday night against the struggling Bulls.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Wrapping up their stretch of five games in seven nights, the Orlando Magic returned home to take on the Chicago Bulls. The Magic controlled the game from the start, taking home an easy win against the Bulls, 111-89.

With injuries depleting their roster, the Magic turned to some unlikely sources for production in the first quarter. Dewayne Dedmon, starting in place for Nikola Vucevic, got the Magic going early, scoring 10 first quarter points, two off of his career-high for a single game. The Magic brought good energy early, jumping out on the lifeless Bulls with easy baskets and some strong play on  the defensive end. Thanks to scalding hot 72.7 percent shooting, the Magic found themselves with a comfortable 36-22 lead after one quarter.

In control of the game after the first quarter, the Magic were able to push their lead to as many as 20 in the second quarter, answering the Bulls runs to cut the lead down to single digits. Dedmon, along with Elfrid Payton continued their high levels of play, with Dedmon finishing the half with a 16-point 10-rebound double-double, with Payton finishing with 13 points and eight assists. Despite allowing more points in the quarter (28) the Magic gave up fewer points in the paint (10) to a Bulls team that scored all but four of their points in the paint in the opening quarter. At the half, the Magic found themselves with a commanding 68-50 lead on the sliding Bulls.

Out of halftime, the Bulls mounted a charge, going on a 15-6 run in the first half of the quarter to cut the Magic lead down to as few as nine. Unlike previous nights, the Magic answered, pushing their lead back out to 20 late in the quarter. The Magic played with a high energy level in the second half of the quarter, grabbing offensive rebounds and limiting the Bulls to just six points after their strong start to the quarter. After three, the Magic found themselves still up 18, leading the visiting Bulls 89-71.

With a commanding lead, the Magic only had to go through the motions in the fourth quarter. Thanks to a 9-0 start to the final 12 minutes, the Magic took their biggest lead of the game up to 29 points, ending any and all hope the Bulls had at a comeback.

Dedmon led the way for the Magic, finishing with a career-high 18 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Payton added a 15-point, 10-assist double-double, with Jason Smith scoring 14 off the Magic bench. Evan Fournier put in a quite 12 points, while Andrew Nicholson scored 14 off the bench.

Taj Gibson finished with 16 to lead Chicago. Jimmy Butler and Justin Holiday added 12, wth Mike Dunleavy scoring 10.