Orlando Magic Status Check:
Road Record: 8-30
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Streak: Lost 3
Last game: 98-84 loss to San Antonio
PPG: 94.3 (23rd)
Opponents PPG: 101.1 (23rd)
Offensive Rating: 101.9 (26th)
Defensive Rating: 109.2 (26th)
Pace: 92.2 (14th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .487 (19th)
Turnover Percentage: .136 (12th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .745 (7th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .250 (24th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .148 (29th)
Opp. eFG%: .507 (22nd)
Opp. TO%: .117 (30th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .198 (10th)
Leading scorer: Tobias Harris (16.1)
Stats from Basketball-Reference
Orlando Injury Report:
Arron Afflalo: out (slightly torn hamstring)
Glen Davis: out (foot)
Jameer Nelson: doubtful (sprained ankle)
Hedo Turkoglu: out (personal)
It wasn’t pretty, but that wouldn’t be the Chicago Bulls way if it was. Carlos Boozer and company pulled out another win in a game which they really didn’t have a right being in, edging the Nets by two and pulling closer to the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls shot 26.3 percent in the first quarter and turned it over six times as Brook Lopez outscored Chicago 18-13 in the first frame all by himself. The Bulls made five shots in the first 12 minutes, while Lopez made eight. Down 26-13, it looked as though the injuries might be too much for Chicago to overcome. You couldn’t blame them. Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, Marco Belinelli, Derrick Rose and Rip Hamilton would make a solid starting five. With all of those guys out it would be easy to come out flat, fall behind by 16 and then coast the rest of the game and take the loss. But Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t allow that, and neither did the Bulls who were healthy.
Boozer led the way with an enormous double-double of 29 points and 18 rebounds. It wasn’t a one man show though, as Jimmy Butler got his own double-double (16 points, ten rebounds), Luol Deng dropped 18 points and Nate Robinson scored an efficient 12 off the bench, including the go-ahead bucket with 22 seconds left.
Brook Lopez, who had 28 points, missed a possible game-tying jumper at the end of the game that was grabbed by Daequan Cook as time expired. That Cook was on the court at the end of a two-point game shows what Thibs has to work with…and it isn’t much.
It’s going to be just as thin tonight presumably when the Bulls take on the Magic. Boozer logged 45 minutes, Deng played 42 and Butler recorded 43. Even Nazr Mohammed (37) and Kirk Hinirch (33), who fouled out in the fourth, logged heavy time. I guess when your bench options are Vladimir Radmanovic, Cook and Nate, you tend to rely heavily on anyone else.
Chicago is 9-7 on back-to-backs this year, although I’m not sure they’ve been as shorthanded as they will be tonight.
Orlando has lost 11 of their last 12 games, with ten of those 11 losses coming against playoff teams. The other loss was against the Bobcats, but who are the Bulls to look down on a team that loses to Charlotte? The Magic’s lone victory during that stretch was against the Wizards, a team that beat Chicago this week.
In the Magic’s defense, they too are fighting through some tough injuries. Jameer Nelson, Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo have all been out recently, with Nelson being the only one with a chance to play tonight, although he is listed as doubtful.
The Bulls have squeaked out two wins over the Magic this season, by two and six points. But just as we were reminded last night, it doesn’t matter how pretty it is, it only matters if you get the win.