Bulls extend winning streak to 8 games, defeat Magic 102-98
CHICAGO – DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, Zach LaVine added 27 and the Chicago Bulls won their eighth straight game, beating the Orlando Magic 102-98 on Monday night.
Nikola Vucevic had 13 points and 17 rebounds for the Bulls. Coby White came off the bench to score 17 points.
Franz Wagner led Orlando with 22 points. Wendell Carter Jr. finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic, who lost their sixth in a row. Orlando has three wins since November 17.
LaVine and DeRozan combined 17 points in the third quarter, helping the Bulls fend off the Magic. Chicago last lost Dec. 11, 118-92 to Miami.
“We can’t be happy with anything,” DeRozan said. “We work extremely hard and can’t take anything for granted. Yes, we’ve won a few games and we’re on a winning streak, but we’re not happy with any of that.”
Chicago led by eight points after LaVine was down 3 points with 2:13 remaining in the fourth quarter. Orlando closed at two points after Wagner made three free throws in the final 20 seconds. LaVine and DeRozan had free throws that froze the game for the Bulls.
DeRozan and LaVine’s second-half scoring explosion was just what Chicago needed to get over a slow start. The Bulls shot just 5 of 22 in the first quarter, missing their first seven attempts and scoring 1 of 9 of 3 points.
“Our guys gave it their all,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “I don’t think we shot the ball particularly well. If you didn’t defend and shoot like we did, we wouldn’t have had a chance to win. We have to have the mentality of, if the ball is not in the basket, we can still defend. “
Orlando started off strong after playing the second night in a row, opening the game with an 11-2 streak and scoring points from all but one of his starters in the first four minutes. The Magic have hung with the Bulls all along, and have never fallen behind more than nine. But, the Magic was unable to come up with a key stop on the stretch.
“I was really happy with the way we fought until the end of the game,” said Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley. “Our guys did a great job figuring out our covers. Offensively, trying to move the ball, figuring out how to exploit some of their defense. But their ability to compete for all 48 was what got me down. more impressed. “
Chicago outscored the Magic 20-9 in the opening minutes of the second quarter to take the lead. LaVine hit a 3-point and a driving layup over center Magic Mo Bamba, pushing the Chicago advantage to eight points. A 3-point buzzer-beater from Hassani Gravett reduced Orlando’s deficit to 45-40 at halftime.
Donovan returned on Monday after missing five games while under NBA health and safety protocols. He entered protocols on December 24 and only treated mild symptoms.
“It really wasn’t that bad for me at all,” Donovan said. “I was lucky. A lot of families were hit hard by this.”
Donovan was initially cleared to travel for Saturday’s game in Washington, but his flight was canceled due to a snowstorm in Chicago.
Chris Fleming went 5-0 as interim coach of the Bulls in Donovan’s absence.
Magic: Bamba was given a technical foul at the start of the fourth while on the bench at the time. … Carter has returned to Chicago for the second time since the Bulls included him in a deal for Nikola Vucevic on last season’s trade deadline. The Bulls drafted him seventh in the 2018 draft.
Bulls: F Javonte Green (groin) is expected to miss two to four weeks. Green took over for Chicago after the team lost F Patrick Williams to an early season wrist injury. … G Alex Caruso (foot) has stepped up his conditioning but has to go through contact drills before the Bulls determine his return date. … F Tyler Cook is set to miss a few weeks after spraining his ankle in Saturday’s game against Washington.
Magic: Host Philadelphia Wednesday.
Bulls: welcome Washington on Friday.
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