Back-to-back games have been back-breakers for the Orlando Magic this season. Facing the injury-depleted Chicago Bulls proved to be the perfect antidote for that.
The Magic, who went into Monday night with a 2-11 road record and a 1-5 mark in the second half of back-to-game games, survived going scoreless for more than three minutes down the stretch and pulled out an 83-82 victory.
Glen Davis, playing with a sore left shoulder after falling into a basket stanchion Sunday night at Oklahoma City, hit a jump shot with 3:45 remaining to give the Magic an 80-72 lead. They did not score again until Arron Afflalo split two free throws with 6.8 seconds to go.
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The Bulls, who are still reeling from the loss of Derrick Rose and played without Kirk Hinrich (back stiffness), could have tied the game. Joakim Noah hit Luol Deng with a perfect bounce pass from the top of the key, but Deng missed the driving layup that would have knotted the score at 81.
Davis was fouled and made both free throws to ice the Magic’s final road game for the calendar year.
Afflalo finished with 23 points while Davis had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Rookie Victor Oladipo had a poor shooting night, going 3 of 12 but did not commit a turnover in 33 minutes.
Since starting off 6-3, the Bulls have lost 11 of 14. One of those three victories was a 107-87 thumping of the Miami Heat.
The turning point
After falling behind 6-0, prompting coach Jacque Vaughn to quickly burn a timeout, the Magic ran off the next 15 points over a four-minute stretch and never trailed the rest of the way. The Bulls wound up having 14 points for the entire quarter.
The difference maker
Afflalo hit all five of his shots in the third quarter as the Magic opened up a 17-point lead. He has now scored 20 or more points 13 times through 25 games, compared with 19 in 64 games last season.
Stat of the game
Despite turning the ball over just once, the Bulls had only 35 points in the first half. That tied the season-low scoring output by a Magic opponent. New Orleans was held to 35 on Nov. 1.
Wednesday night vs. Utah, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Florida).