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Magic at Bulls GameThread

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Orlando limps into the Windy City tonight to take on the charging Bulls

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you had this game highlighted on your schedule a month ago as an "easy win" for the Magic, you would have been right.


Guess again.

The Magic limp into Chicago tonight to take on the 9-20 Chicago Bulls. But don't let the record fool you; the Bulls currently sport the Eastern Conference's longest active winning streak. The Bulls scored a surprising 117-115 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers last Monday night to extend their current winning streak to six games.

Orlando will be tasked with slowing down Nikola Mirotic Wednesday night, who is averaging over 23 points through his last five games.

Heading in the other direction, the Magic dropped their fifth straight game Sunday in Detroit 114-110. Orlando was down by more than 20 points late in the second half before they made a late surge sparked primarily by Mario Hezonja. Hezonja connected on eight three-point attempts en route to a career high 28 points Sunday.

The Magic will again be in need of contributions from unlikely sources, as they are scheduled to be without Aaron Gordon (calf strain), Evan Fournier (sprained ankle), and Terrence Ross (knee) against the Bulls.

Jonathan Isaac, who missed 18 of Orlando's first 31 games, did return Sunday against the Pistons. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel has reported that Isaac will continue to operate on a minutes restriction. Coach Vogel said that Isaac's minutes tonight will be limited to about 20 (up from the 15 minute restriction he was under against Detroit).

Arron Afflalo, who has missed Orlando's last three games (back spasms), will also be available tonight.

"Our guys still believe in what we can be," Coach Vogel told the Orlando Sentinel. "We've been battling the schedule early and then injuries all throughout. It's still very early in the season. I don't think anyone is losing hope on that."

The Magic are 5.5 point underdogs in this contest against the streaking Bulls. The over/under is set at 210.5 points.

Leave your pre-game and in-game comments below. As always, enjoy!

Orlando Magic (11-20, lost 5 in a row) @ Chicago Bulls (9-20, won 6 in a row)

December 20th, 2017

United Center

8:00 PM EST

TV: Fox Sports Florida

PROJECTED STARTERS:

Elfrid Payton

PG

Kris Dunn

Jonathon Simmons

SG

Justin Holiday

Wesley Iwundu

SF

Denzel Valentine

Mario Hezonja

PF

Lauri Markkanen

Nikola Vucevic

C

Robin Lopez

ORLANDO

CHICAGO

99.9 (7th of 30)

PACE

97.1 (13th of 30)

105.8 (19th of 30)

O-RTG

101.0 (30th of 30)

109.9 (24th of 30)

D-RTG

108.5 (18th of 30)