Bulls 109, Magic 91
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—The Orlando Magic have fallen a long way this season, and with their star in street clothes Wednesday night, they hit rock bottom.
Orlando surrendered 57 points in the final 19 minutes, allowing the short-handed Chicago Bulls to run off with a 109-91 victory in a game matching the teams with the NBA’s worst records.
The Magic, missing NBA scoring leader Tracy McGrady, lost their ninth consecutive game—the longest skid since dropping a franchise-record 19 straight at the season’s beginning. Orlando (19-57) must win twice in its last six games to avoid its worst record since the inaugural 1989-1990 season
“You have to play with pride. You have to play with a sense of commitment— and I didn’t see that in the second half,” Orlando coach Johnny Davis said shortly after delivering a postgame tirade audible in the press room despite two cinderblock walls in between.
The Bulls made 23 of their last 37 shots, with nine dunks or layups and seven 3-pointers. Chicago pushed the lead in the closing seconds to 20 points— the seventh straight game Orlando has trailed by at least 18.
“It feels good to win. Even though (Orlando) is at the bottom, it’s good for team morale,” said Crawford, who added nine assists.
Added coach Scott Skiles: “Any time you can bust up a losing streak and not let those things continue and get longer and longer, it’s good.”
Unlike Orlando, Chicago doesn’t have a superstar, though the Bulls did have four players sitting out. Sidelined were Tyson Chandler (sore lower back), Kendall Gill (migraine headache), Kirk Hinrich (food poisoning) and Jerome Williams (sprained left ankle).
Davis’ shouts—the word “pride” bellowed more than once—could be heard roaring out of the Magic locker room after their game-ending meltdown. Although those in earshot thought it shocking to hear a tirade from such a mild-mannered man, forward Juwan Howard dismissed it.
“Nineteen wins—he’s been more angry than this time,” said Howard, whose 26 points led the Magic.
Davis blamed himself, and Howard said the fault lies with the players. That’s fitting, as such total misery can come through only a team effort.
“It’s been a long and disappointing year for all of us,” said Davis, 18-47 since taking over for the fired Doc Rivers in November.
And the year looks to get worse with the news McGrady will miss the rest of the season because of left knee tendinitis. McGrady—and his 28 points per game—were placed on the injured list earlier Wednesday.
Perversely, the Magic can take from the game some good news: Their loss gives them a 2 1/2 -game “lead” in the race for the most pingpong balls in the NBA draft lottery on May 26. The magic number to clinch the dubious honor is five.
The team finishing with the worst record has a 25 percent chance, in the lottery, of landing the No. 1 pick and will select no lower than fifth. Thesecond-worst team has a 20 percent probability of picking first.
The Bulls scored more than 100 points for just the seventh time this season; three of those came while sweeping the Magic. … The Magic had won nine of 10 games from Chicago entering the season. … Although Chandler sat out, he was back from one-game suspension for throwing a punch at Atlanta Hawks forward Michael Bradley last Saturday. … There were five technical fouls. Both coaches were hit, as were Orlando players Drew Gooden and DeShawn Stevenson, and the Bulls’ Antonio Davis. … Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp, wearing a No. 34 Bo Jackson jersey, was among the 13,017 inattendance.