Here are the numbers that truly matter for Monday’s game between the Magic and the Bulls:
--The Magic, with a record of 18-37, sit one game behind the Bulls, who sit at 19-36.
--According to Tankathon, with each team having 27 games remaining, the Magic have a strength of schedule cumulative winning percentage of .478, which is sixth easiest in the league, just edging out the Bulls, who have a .479 percentage.
So, cue the classic NBA on NBC intro music, "It’s a tanker showdown as Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls take on Evan Fournier and the Orlando Magic!"
This will be the third meeting of the season between the teams, with the Bulls having won the first two by wide margins. The Bulls are expected to have LaVine, who sat out Saturday’s game against the Wizards as part of his recovery from a torn ACL, in which he skips the backend of back-to-backs. On Friday, he scored 35 points, including the game-deciding free throws, to lift the Bulls to a surprising 114-113 win over the Timberwolves, snapping Chicago’s seven-game losing streak. The Bulls, who could also get point guard Kris Dunn back after he missed 10 games while recovering from a concussion, enter Monday’s game having the league’s second worst offensive rating at 101.8 points per 100 possessions.
The Magic offense, namely their three-point shooting, failed them in the second half of what had ben a strong performance against the Bucks on Saturday as their three-game winning streak came to an end. Aaron Gordon will miss his eighth straight game with a strained hip flexor. Mario Hezonja, averaging 15.3 points per game while starting in Gordon’s place during the stretch, is coming off a 23-point performance.
Tip is set for 8 p.m. Eastern at the United Center in Chicago. Join the conversation below!