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Chicago Bulls 105, Orlando Magic 101: In-bounds turnover spoils comeback

Mario Hezonja helped the Magic erase an 18-point deficit but the Bulls held on

NBA: Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

A valiant comeback fell short after the Magic threw the ball and the game away on an in-bounds pass.

After the Bulls took a 93-75 lead with 8:23 remaining, the Magic went on a 16-1 run led by Mario Hezonja, who scored nine points during the stretch. Hezonja, who scored 14 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth, capped the run with a three that pulled Orlando within 94-91 with 5:10 left. Two minutes later, Hezonja drilled another three that gave the Magic a 98-96 lead.

Bobby Portis and Evan Fournier then traded baskets, evening the score at 101 and setting the stage for a critical Magic error.

With the Magic in-bounding the ball with just over 15 seconds left, Jonathon Simmons lead bounce pass was too far in front of Shelvin Mack, allowing Zach LaVine to pick it off and run down court for the go-ahead dunk with 12.4 seconds left.

Hezonja’s deep three on the ensuing possession drew nothing but air and the Bulls managed to escape with the win.

Hezonja shot 8-for-14 from the field, including 3 of 4 from long range, and also grabbed six rebounds. Fournier had 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting. Simmons added 14 points, five assists and four rebounds. Bismack Biyombo and Mo Speights each finished with 10 points.

For the first time in the brief post-Elfrid Payton era, the Magic got poor production from the point guard position. D.J. Augustin, who shot just 1 of 6 from the field, was held to five points and three assists. Shelvin Mack shot 2-for-8 and finished with five points and six assists for the Magic, who shot 44 percent from the field, including 10-for-31 from three (32.3 percent).

Rookie Lauri Markkanen, who was drafted directly behind Jonathan Isaac, led the Bulls with 21 points and eight rebounds. LaVine added 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Portis had 19 points and seven rebounds.

The Magic return home to take on the Hornets on Wednesday in their final game before the All-Star break.