The Orlando Magic played a game featuring Derrick Rose for the first time since March of 2012. Not since the days of Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy has the former MVP been in uniform when the Magic have faced the Chicago Bulls. After nine consecutive missed games against Orlando, Derrick appeared raring to go. However, the Magic had other plans.
Playing in their second consecutive game without Tobias Harris and Evan Fournier, the Magic would have a tough task ahead of them, but met it head on. Playing loose, up-tempo basketball straight out the gate, Orlando got good looks on almost every possession and caught the Bulls by surprise. Led by Nikola Vucevic—who had a big first quarter with 12 points—the Magic shot an incredible 60.9 percent in the first period while holding the Bulls to 38.1 percent. Orlando led 29-21 to close out the opening quarter.
The second quarter was more or less the same, as the Magic kept their collective foot on the gas. However, Orlando went through a minor sloppy stretch, while the Bulls got on a hot streak and cut the lead down to as few as three. Fortunately, the Magic brushed off the Bulls’ punch and countered with a nine-to-four run entering halftime. The Magic put up 63 points in the half, tallying their highest total of the season.
Coming out of halftime, the game would become The Vooch and Oladipo Show, as the two would combine to score 23 points in the third. The Magic kept their energy high, but had another sloppy spell that caused the Bulls to get back into the game for a moment. However, the Magic amped things up defensively, making life tough for the Bulls while clicking on all cylinders offensively. In the final seconds of the third quarter, Vucevic sent a message to All-Star voters, which you can see here.
Down by 15 in the fourth, the game seemed wrapped up for the Magic, but the Bulls made it a dog fight until the end. With the Magic going to their bench, the Bulls seized the opportunity to close in on Orlando behind some clutch plays from Nikola Mirotic. With four of the five starters back in to close out the game, the Magic would go on to pull out the victory against the Bulls 121-114.
Pau Gasol led the way for the Bulls with a team-high 28 points and 14 rebounds. Derrick Rose finished with 18 and seven dimes. Jimmy Butler had 17 points on the night. Aaron Brooks and Nikola Mirotic combined for 23 points off the bench.
Coming off a career night against Portland, Nik Vucevic nearly tied that with 33 points and 11 rebounds. Victor Oladipo matched Vucevic’s total with 33 points of his own. Elfrid Payton finished with 10 points and seven assists.