Bulls-Magic Preview

Orlando Magic Status Check:
Record: 20-60
Division: 3-12
Conference: 10-40
Home Record: 12-28
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Streak: Lost 1
Last game: 120-88 loss to Boston
PPG: 94.3 (24th)
Opponents PPG: 101.0 (23rd)
Offensive Rating: 101.7 (27th)
Defensive Rating: 109.0 (25th)
Pace: 92.2 (14th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .485 (20th)
Turnover Percentage: .137 (12th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .745 (7th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .253 (23rd)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .147 (29th)
Opp. eFG%: .506 (22nd)
Opp. TO%: .117 (30th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .197 (9th)
Leading scorer: Tobias Harris (17.1)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Orlando Injury Report:
Arron Afflalo: out (torn ligament)
Glen Davis: out (foot surgery)
Jameer Nelson: out (sprained ankle)
Hedo Turkoglu: out (personal)

With two games remaining in the season, Chicago has fallen into sixth place in the Eastern Conference because of two losses to Toronto in the last week, as well as Sunday’s loss in Miami.

The Bulls are a full game back of Atlanta, with the Hawks two remaining games against Toronto and New York. If the Bulls lose tonight and the Hawks win Tuesday against the Raptors, Atlanta will clinch the fifth seed. In that scenario, Chicago would face Indiana, who is set in the three seed.

Chicago has won three close contests against the Magic this season, all decided by six or fewer points—they won those matchups by a combine nine points.

A late season game against the out-of-contention Magic shouldn’t be the toughest game, especially considering Arron Afflalo, Glen Davis and Jameer Nelson are all out.

Not that the Bulls don’t have injuries of their own, but Rip Hamilton should return from a one game suspension, while Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah may also be back in the lineup.

Tobias Harris, the Magic’s leading scorer is healthy and averaging 20.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per contest over the last ten games. Nikola Vucevic is adding 18.3 points and 15.7 rebounds over that same stretch (Vucevic played in seven of those ten games). Since returning he has recorded a double-double in every contest, and has tallied at least 20 rebounds twice.

The Bulls could use the rebounding of Noah and Gibson to try and slow Vucevic down on the glass, otherwise they will have to rely on Nazr Mohammed and Carlos Boozer.

Boozington grabbed 20 rebounds in Sunday’s loss to Miami, but the Heat are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. The Magic aren’t very good on the offensive boards, ranking just 23rd, but are seventh in the league on the defensive glass.

Normally a team with the second-worst record in the NBA is exactly who you would want to play knowing you need a win if you want to have a chance to move into the fifth spot in the playoffs. But for the Bulls, it’s a mixed bag. They’ve lost four of their last five games against lottery opponents, the lone win coming against the Magic on April 5.

That was the game Beno Udrih torched Chicago for 27 points. The Bulls needed a fourth quarter comeback and Nate Robinson delivered, scoring 12 of his 19 points in the final frame to propel Chicago to a one point victory.

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