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Chicago Bulls 112, Orlando Magic 94: Magic drop their sixth straight to red-hot Bulls

Behind a balanced attack, Chicago ran over Orlando en route to their seventh consecutive win

NBA: Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

In some instances, it’s just difficult to try and sugar-coat things.

The Magic are not very good right now. They’re not playing well, injuries are piling up, and morale seems to be plummeting. Orlando dropped their sixth-straight contest to the Chicago Bulls 112-94 tonight at the United Center.

Orlando ran into a team Wednesday that seems to be trending in an entirely different direction. After beginning the season 3-20, the Chicago Bulls have now won seven games in a row, the longest such streak in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls haven’t lost since the return of forward Nikola Mirotic, who missed Chicago’s first 23 games with a facial fracture. Mirotic posted 15 points and 10 rebounds (in 22 minutes) against the Magic in the contest.

Chicago never trailed Wednesday night against Orlando. The Bulls opened the game on a 12-0 run, connecting on their first five shots.

After Coach Vogel’s second charged timeout of the first quarter, the Magic went on a 12-0 run of their own fueled by Elfrid Payton. Payton got in the lane and finished, pulled down a rebound and found Jonathan Isaac on a breakaway, pulled down an offensive rebound and found D.J. Augustin in the corner for a “three”, and then stole the ball back and hit Nikola Vucevic for a wide open dunk.

A questionable call to end the first quarter really changed the momentum of the whole game. Jerian Grant drove the length of the court and seemingly committed an offensive foul (a charge) while converting his layup. But the referee called a blocking foul on Shelvin Mack instead, and Grant converted the three-point play.

Orlando’s bench unit really struggled to open up the second quarter. Honestly, nothing worked Wednesday night. The bench was putrid, but the first unit wasn’t making a whole lot happen either.

The Magic gave up mini 6-0 and 5-0 runs to the Bulls to close out the first and second quarters, and found themselves down at the half by 11 points (59-48).

The Bulls broke the game open in the third quarter, outscoring the Magic 31-18 in the period, and extending their lead to 24 points heading into the fourth quarter.

Six Bulls scored in double figures, led by Denzel Valentine’s 16 points and 10 rebounds. Kris Dunn scored 15 points and dished out seven assists. Bobby Portis and Jerian Grant chipped in off the bench with 14 points and 13 points respectively.

If there was a single bright spot for the Magic on Wednesday, it was the play of two-way signee Adreian Payne, who scored 10 points in the game’s final six minutes.

The worst development of the game came in the third quarter, when rookie Jonathan Isaac exited the contest. Isaac, who missed 18 consecutive games for the Magic before returning last Sunday, seemingly re-injured his ankle. Coach Vogel, when addressing the media post-game, stated that preliminary x-rays on Isaac’s ankle came back negative (as far as a fracture).

“I’m going to be fine,” Isaac said after the game. “It’s not even close to what it was the first time. It’s just a little tweak.”

Nikola Vucevic provided 18 points for the Magic, but on 21 attempts from the field. As a team, the Magic shot 39% (35-89) from the field, and an ice cold 18.5% from behind the arc (5-27). D.J. Augustin added 14 points off the bench.

Orlando is back in action Friday night at the Amway Center. The Magic will welcome Anthony Davis, Boogie Cousins, and the rest of the New Orleans Pelicans.