The Chicago Bulls visit the Orlando Magic in the second game of a three game trip. Orlando has played strong at home, while the Bulls have found ways to win their last 5 games. The Bulls are currently leading the NBA, by allowing the least points per game from their opponent, but not far behind lies the Magic, with the leagues second best OPPG.
Dwight Howard is amidst the biggest trade rumors in the league, with some questioning his motive to play at times. However, a few big games have cooled down the critics, and we are back to a media circus around whether or not he’ll get traded after all.
The first half started as an exchange of baskets, with no real advantage of momentum leaning towards any team. It wasn’t until late in the second quarter where the Bulls pulled away, topped off by a buzzer beating turnaround by Carlos Boozer to give the Bulls a ten point lead at the half. Derrick Rose contributed 12 points in the first quarter.
Ronnie Brewer gets his second start. Richard Hamilton played against Detroit, despite his injury concerns(groin), will be playing it safe in an attempt to recover. CJ Watson was wearing a sling around his left arm and will be out for another week. Watson is said to be ready to slide into the rotation if needed, although the Bulls expect him to miss at least 4 more games.
Off-season target, Jason Richardson, had a decent game. He re-signed with Orlando, after rejecting an offer from the Bulls. Richardson, one of the leagues top streak shooters, ended the game with 17pts on 3/6 from downtown.
Luol Deng stepped up in the 3rd quarter to prevent a comeback from the Magic. Luol’s momentum fell flat as the Bulls looked to keep pace. Derrick used his hops and speed to tip every possible ball away from the Magic and into the Bulls hands to keep drives going. Unfortunately, the team ran into a dry spell, despite all of the added second chance opportunities. The magic chipped back, and were within 3 points, when things started to come together for the Bulls. Dwight Howard still got his, contributing 28 points and 15 rebounds in 41 minutes. The Bulls just had too much depth, finding energy from everyone on the floor.
Derrick Rose finished with 21 points and 10 assists. Deng added 21, and Boozer had 20 and 13 boards.
The Bulls advance to a 7-1 record and defeat Orlando 97-83.
Next Game: Saturday January 7th at the 5-3 Atlanta Hawks, 6:00PM tip-off.
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