Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo lead Magic past Bulls
CHICAGO (AP) — Nikola Vucevic had 33 points and 11 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic snapped a six-game losing streak with a 121-114 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.
Orlando shot a season-high 59 percent from the field in its first win in Chicago since an 83-82 victory on Dec. 16, 2013. The Magic had lost three in a row and 12 of 15 against the Bulls since the start of the 2010-11 season.
Victor Oladipo also scored 33 points for the Magic, and rookie Elfrid Payton added 10 points and seven assists.
Vucevic was 16 for 24 from the field in his NBA-best 23rd double-double of the season. The terrific performance for the 7-foot center included a drive and left-handed dunk over forward Pau Gasol late in third period.
Gasol paced Chicago with 28 points and 14 rebounds, and Derrick Rose had 18 points and seven assists. Jimmy Butler finished with 17 points.
Rose was 8 for 15 from the field in his return to the lineup after missing Saturday night’s 95-87 victory over Milwaukee with left knee soreness.
Orlando carried a 93-78 lead into the fourth quarter, but managed only one free throw in the next 3 1/2 minutes. Reserves Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic led a Chicago comeback that got the Bulls within three with 2:16 to play. But Joakim Noah missed two free throws for Chicago and Oladipo followed with a layup.
The undermanned Magic set a season high for points in a game while reaching the 100-point mark for only the 11th time this season.
The Magic jumped to a 63-55 halftime lead. They shot 61 percent in each of the first two quarters against the usually stout Bulls, who had ranked fourth in the NBA in field-goal percentage defense.
Chicago had no answer for Vucevic, who had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists in the first half. Orlando received a considerable boost from its bench, which scored 25 points in that span.
Magic: Ex-Bulls G Ben Gordon returned to Chicago, where he spent the first five seasons of his career. "Played in some big games, hit some big shots," said Gordon, who still has friends and family in the area. "I’ve got a lot more good memories here than bad ones." … Evan Fournier (sprained right knee), forward Aaron Gordon (fractured left foot) and Tobias Harris (sprained left ankle) were not available.
Bulls: F Mike Dunleavy reported improvement in his sore right ankle but still had not resumed running exercises. He isn’t likely to return until this weekend at the earliest. Tony Snell started in his place for the second consecutive game. … Rookie forward Doug McDermott (right knee surgery) also was inactive.
Magic: Host Houston on Wednesday night.
Bulls: Host Washington on Wednesday night.