Magic Musings: Final 2 minutes spoil strong game from starters
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Leading by six points with less than a minute to go and momentum seemingly on their side Sunday night, the Orlando Magic saw that slip away as the Chicago Bulls rallied for a 98-97 victory.
Pau Gasol's putback dunk with 9.4 seconds to go capped a 7-0 run that began when Jimmy Butler hit two free throws following a clear-path foul on Tobias Harris. The Magic could have still pulled out a win, but Nikola Vucevic missed a shot over Gasol in the lane, and Harris missed a tip-in attempt just before the final horn.
The loss was the first for the Magic since James Borrego became their interim coach and spoiled a performance where all five starters scored in double figures, led by Victor Oladipo's 18 points. The Magic also had a 45-35 advantage in rebounds over the Bulls, who were wrapping up a six-game road trip.
A 9-0 run gave the Magic a 97-91 lead with 2:15 remaining. But Oladipo's layup at that point marked the last time they would score.
The Magic trailed by 16 points after one quarter but cut that deficit to 50-45 by halftime. Gasol already had a double-double in the first half for the Bulls with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Already without Kirk Hinrich (toe), the Bulls saw Jimmy Butler hurt his right shoulder late in the second quarter when he charged into Oladipo. But Butler was able to start the third quarter and wound up leading all scorers with 27 points.
The Magic haven't beaten the Bulls in Orlando since March 2010.
THE TURNING POINT
With the Magic nursing a 97-96 lead, Evan Fournier was called for an over-and-back call by referee Justin VanDuyne with 15.5 seconds remaining, giving the Bulls possession of the ball.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Gasol got the best of Vucevic, finishing with 25 points and 15 rebounds compared with 14 points and seven rebounds for the Magic center.
STAT OF THE GAME
The win was the 19th for the Bulls away from home this season, tying them with the Dallas Mavericks for the most road victories in the NBA.
Monday night at Washington, 7 p.m.