Returning home after a successful 2-1 road trip, the Orlando Magic welcomed the Chicago Bulls to the Amway Center. The Magic got nothing going at all, struggling on both ends, getting blown out by the Bulls, 105-83.
One of the best offensive teams early in the season, the Magic struggled mightily early against Chicago. Despite getting open looks, nothing was going down for the team that came into the night with one of the best shooting percentages in the league. However, after an early Frank Vogel timeout, the Magic, led by Evan Fournier, slowly began to find their sea legs. Fournier finished the quarter with 12, and spearheaded the Magic’s 22-13 spurt to end the quarter and trail the Bulls by two, 28-26.
As has been the case this season, Jonathon Simmons gave the Magic a spark off the bench, giving the team life defensively, and opening things up offensively. The high energy guard scored four points, dished out four assists, and grabbed three rebounds in his opening half. As the starters began returning, the Magic saw struggles on the defensive end come back up, giving up open looks and losing players left and right. Despite their struggles on both ends throughout the opening half, the Magic still led the Bulls by one, 45-44 at half.
Out of halftime, the wheels fell off for the Magic. The offense, which had struggled with stagnation throughout the first half, became even more stagnant, not moving the ball and forcing up seemingly any open shot they could find. The defense continued to struggle to get any stops, and the lead began to slowly grow for the visiting Bulls. After three, the lifeless Magic found themselves down 13, 73-60.
Trying to get a spark, Vogel turned to Marreesse Speights and Wes Iwundu, but it didn’t work. Chicago opened the quarter on a 7-0 run to push the lead up to 20, and kill any hope the Magic had of coming back.
Justin Holiday led six Bulls in double figures, finishing with 19. David Nwaba scored 16, with rookie Lauri Markkanen adding 13. Robin Lopez, Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine all added 11 on the night.
Fournier led all scorers, finishing with 21 on the night. Nikola Vucevic added 14, and Aaron Gordon finished with 11.