Bulls snap Magic’s three-game winning streak
CHICAGO (AP) — Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls were pushed by the Orlando Magic in the third quarter, and their response delighted coach Fred Hoiberg.
Butler scored 20 points, Taj Gibson had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and the Bulls routed the Magic 112-80 on Monday night.
Dwyane Wade also scored 16 points and Doug McDermott finished with 11 for Chicago, which had dropped three straight. Wade went 7 for 12 from the field in 25 minutes, bouncing back nicely from a dismal four-point performance in Saturday’s 111-94 loss at Indiana.
The Bulls held the Magic to 23 percent shooting and 28 points in the second half.
"We’re not going to win too many ballgames if our defense is not doing what it did," Wade said.
Orlando had won three straight, but it played listless defense as Chicago pulled away in the third quarter. Aaron Gordon scored 15 points for the Magic, and Evan Fournier added 13 on 6-for-12 shooting.
"I just think our defense wasn’t there," Gordon said. "And then offensively, because our defense wasn’t there, we didn’t execute as well. Our defense bled into our offense."
Butler was a perfect 10 for 10 as the Bulls went 25 for 31 at the free-throw line, compared to 5 for 6 for the Magic. The Bulls have made at least 20 free throws in their last four games and five of their first seven.
"We scored the ball decently well," Butler said. "But whenever we’re guarding we make the game a lot easier for ourselves."
Chicago led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but Gordon had a cutting dunk and Fournier made a 3-pointer to help Orlando close to 63-58 in the third.
The Bulls then ripped off the next 13 points, and the Magic never threatened again. Gibson, Rajon Rondo and Robin Lopez closed the run with three straight layups, making it 76-58 with 6:05 left.
"We turned the ball over too much and they made all the hustle plays," Orlando coach Frank Vogel said. "If you’re going to win on the road, you have to make all the hustle plays and you have to take care of the ball."
McDermott and Butler each converted a three-point play to help Chicago to an 88-63 lead heading into the final period. The Magic shot 4 for 21 in the third and committed six turnovers in the quarter.
"That’s the defensive mindset that we have to have for the entire game," Hoiberg said.
Magic: Nikola Vucevic had 11 points and six rebounds. … The Magic shot 39 percent (33 for 85) from the field. … Asked about the discrepancy at the line, Vogel responded: "I have no comments, we will discuss that through proper channels."
Bulls: Isaiah Canaan provided some energy off the bench and finished with 10 points. … Butler had seven assists and five rebounds. … The Bulls outrebounded the Magic 56-39.
The Bulls used a 15-0 run to grab a 37-24 lead after one. The first quarter has been key for Chicago so far this season.
The Bulls allowed 20 points in the first quarter in each of their first three games, all wins. They allowed at least 31 in each of the previous three games, all losses.
"It’s as simple as that," Hoiberg said. "Need to get off to a good start. When we do that we generally play a good game."
The Bulls picked up a little momentum heading into a difficult stretch. Eight of Chicago’s next nine games are on the road, including Wade’s return to Miami on Thursday night after he signed with his hometown Bulls in the offseason.
Magic: Host Minnesota on Wednesday night. The Magic have won five straight and 13 of 15 against the Timberwolves.
Bulls: Visit Atlanta on Wednesday night. The Bulls were swept by the Hawks last season for the first time since 2008-09.
- Aaron Gordon
- Chicago Bulls
- Doug McDermott
- Dwyane Wade
- Evan Fournier
- FOX Sports Florida
- FOX Sports Florida - Magic
- Isaiah Canaan
- Jimmy Butler
- Nikola Vucevic
- Orlando Magic
- Rajon Rondo
- Robin Lopez
- Taj Gibson