Chicago Bulls vs Orlando Magic Preview and Predictions -03-12-2020
Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic
NBA: Thursday, March 12, Amway Center, Orlando, Florida, 6:00 PM ET
The Chicago Bulls responded to a three-game losing streak with a home victory over the 4-point underdogs Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls improved to a 22-43 record and are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Orlando Magic are coming back home from a four-game road trip on which they recorded three consecutive wins. Following the most recent win over the 2-point favorites Memphis Grizzlies, the Magic improved to a 30-35 record and are in the 8th place in the East.
These conference rivals met once this season, and the Magic secured a 103-95 home victory, covering the -5.5 spread in the process.
The Bulls edged the Cavs at home
Chicago managed to avoid the fourth loss in a row with a 108-103 home victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls shot well from the field (50%) and hit 12 triples opposite Cleveland’s six, while the hosts recorded 11 rebounds more than the Cavs (46-35). Coby White led the Bulls with 20 points, five rebounds, and team-high five assists. Wendell Carter Jr. had 17 points, six boards, and two steals, Otto Porter added 15 points and two thefts, while Denzel Valentine and Lauri Markkanen scored 15 points apiece. Kris Dunn (knee) is out indefinitely, Chandler Hutchison (shoulder) is out for the season, Luke Kornet (ankle) is out for the next six to eight weeks, Ryan Arcidiacono (Achilles) is questionable to face Orlando, while Zach LaVine (left quad) is unavailable to feature on Thursday.
“I thought he competed,” coach Jim Boylen said about Coby White. “He was on (Collin) Sexton a lot. That guy’s a hard guy to guard. He’s fast, he’s strong. I thought Coby was a two-way player tonight. I thought he showed his burst. … That looked like Steve Francis. That’s how Steve Francis used to do it — that burst.”
This season, the Bulls have the 26th offense in the NBA that averages 106.8 points per game, and they are facing the Magic’s 4th defense that allows 107.3 points per contest. The Bulls are the 28th in rebounds with 41.9 and 23rd in assists with 23.2 per game.
The Magic’s second-half display helped them to beat Memphis
Orlando scored even 70 points in the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies on the road, and thanks to that sharp display, the Magic deserved a 120-115 victory. The Magic moved the ball very well and ended the game with 31 assists opposite Memphis’ 24, while they committed five turnovers fewer than the hosts (15-20). Terence Ross led the Magic with 24 points and two blocks. Michael Carter-Williams had 20 points and two steals, Nikola Vucevic posted a double-double of 19 points and team-high 11 rebounds, along with even assists, DJ Augustin scored 14, while Markelle Fultz contributed with 14 points, six dimes, and game-high three thefts. Al-Farouq Aminu (knee) is out for the season, while Evan Fournier (elbow) and Jonathan Isaac (knee) are out indefinitely.
“We had confidence,” said Orlando guard Markelle Fultz. “I think we probably were too high coming into the game, and we got punched in the mouth first. We had to wake up quick.”
This season, the Magic have the 27th offense in the NBA that averages 106.4 points per game, and they are facing the Bulls’ 14th defense that allows 109.9 points per contest. The Magic are the 17th in rebounds with 44.5 and 17th in assists with 24.0 per game
The Orlando Magic are an American professional basketball team based in Orlando, Florida. The Magic compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The franchise was established in 1989 as an expansion franchise, and such notable NBA stars as Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, Patrick Ewing, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Steve Francis, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Dominique Wilkins, and Hedo Türkoğlu have played for the club throughout its young history. As of 2019, the franchise has played in the NBA playoffs for exactly half of its existence (15 playoff appearances in 30 years), and twice went to the NBA Finals, in 1995 and 2009. Orlando has been the second most successful of the four expansion teams brought into the league in 1988 and 1989 in terms of winning percentage, only after the Miami Heat.