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Bulls’ Struggles Continue in Sloppy Loss to League-Worst Magic

DeMar DeRozan was the lone bright spot as the shorthanded Bulls struggled against the Magic, losing 114-95.

DeMar DeRozan Bull Magic
Photo: ChicagoBulls/Twitter

Yes, the Chicago Bulls are the most short-handed team in the NBA at the moment. But head coach Billy Donovan will not be pleased with his team’s performance against the Orlando Magic on Sunday night.

The Bulls were dominated in all aspects of the game as the team with the worst record in the NBA beat them, 114-95.

Both teams struggled to begin the game. The Bulls were leading by a score of just 10-4 after playing over six minutes of the opening quarter. But an 8-0 run by the Magic put the home team up 12-10, and Orlando never looked back.

DeMar DeRozan tried his best to keep the Bulls in the game as he scored 20 of the Bulls’ 37 points in the first half. But the Magic’s hot three-point shooting and the Bulls’ 11 first-half turnovers were too much to overcome.

The theme of sloppy play and getting physically dominated continued throughout the evening. Chicago finished with 21 turnovers and shot 43% from the field, including a poor 5-21 (24%) from beyond the arc.

Nearly all Bulls players struggled on the night, but non more so than Nikola Vucevic. The former Magic player shot just 4-19 from the field, scoring just 13 points.

Wagner Brothers Lead the Way for Magic

Franz and Mo Wagner led the way for the Magic as the Bulls struggled with any physical presence the brothers provided. They combined for 41 points on 16-27 shooting and were key in scoring the 60 points in the paint Orlando collected.

The elder Mo was also key to the disparity in bench points between the two teams. He scored 23 points as the Magic bench outscored the Bulls 51-39.

The Bulls were down by as many as 20 points in the third quarter. However, a 13-0 run helped Chicago cut the deficit to 11 heading into the fourth quarter.

The beginning of the fourth quarter provided an opportunity for the Bulls to make it a game, but a sequence between Nikola Vucevic and Mo Wagner epitomized the frustration experienced by all Bulls fans.

Vucevic received the ball in the post on two straight possessions with the Bulls down just 11. However, each possession ended with a Vucevic charge drawn by Wagner. The Magic scored on both subsequent possessions and continued to keep the Bulls at arm’s length for the rest of the game.

DeRozan was the lone bright spot tonight as he led Chicago with 41 points, his first 40-point game since March 2018.

Former Bull Wendell Carter Jr. added 19 points for Orlando.

What’s On Tap Next?

The Bulls (28-16) finish off their three-game road trip as they head to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder (14-32). It will be the first matchup between the teams and Chicago may have Zach LaVine back in the lineup for it. Monday’s tip-off is at 7 PM CST and the game will air on NBC Sports Chicago.

Be sure to check out the Bulls On Tap podcast for further postgame reaction as well as Chicago basketball analysis and commentary all season.

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