Bulls 100, Magic 76

Preview | Box Score | Recap

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—The Chicago Bulls bounced back in a big way.

One night after suffering their worst defeat of the season, the Bulls dominated the Orlando Magic from start to finish for a 100-76 victory Thursday night.

A 14-0 run in the middle of the second quarter propelled the Bulls to a 20-point halftime lead in a game in which they were never challenged one night after losing to the Miami Heat 103-70.

Ben Gordon scored 25 points and backcourt mate Kirk Hinrich had 17. Luol Deng added 15 points, all in the second half, and a season-high 14 rebounds.

“I think last night (in Miami) kind of woke us up,” Hinrich said. “We were frustrated and disappointed with the way we played. Obviously, we had a lot more energy and purpose this time.”

Bulls coach Scott Skiles liked how his team responded after its worst outing.

“We took the game to them,” Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. “We were aggressive at both ends of the court and didn’t let them dictate the tempo of the game.”

Gordon and Hinrich shot the Bulls to a big early lead that Chicago maintained throughout the game. The two combined to hit seven of nine 3-pointers as Chicago’s brisk ball movement left gaping holes in the Magic defense.

“I think we came out with the attitude that we were going to make them play our style of basketball and we did that,” said Ben Wallace, who had 12 rebounds and helped spring the Bulls’ guards loose with his picks on the perimeter. “We played with a real sense of urgency.”

It was another disappointing night for the Magic, who scored only 29 points in the first half, their lowest output this season.

Dwight Howard led Orlando with 17 points and 14 rebounds, but was only 2-for-8 from the line in the first quarter when the Bulls made it clear they were going to foul him rather than let him work in the lane. He finished 5-for-14 as Orlando hit 18 of 36 free throw attempts for the game.

“I’m not sure if we’ve ever played a first half like we played tonight as far as not making shots form the field or the free throw line,” Magic coach Brian Hill said. “We missed eight shots at the front of the rim and another eight free throws and that dug us a hole that we couldn’t get out of.”

Jameer Nelson had 13 points and Trevor Ariza had 10 for the Magic, who have lost seven of their last 10 games.

Hinrich, who had started slowly in recent games, had 10 points in the first quarter to help Chicago jump out to a 26-17 advantage. The Bulls’ point guard hit three of five shots, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Notes

Tiger Woods watched the game from a courtside seat, but the world’s No. 1 golfer left at halftime. … Bulls F Malik Allen, who didn’t play, left the bench in the third quarter and was taken to the hospital for observation. Bulls’ officials said only that he wasn’t feeling well. … Magic F Hedo Turkoglu took an inadvertent elbow in the nose from Howard and didn’t play in the second half. … The Magic scored 29 points in the first half, their lowest output for a half all season. … Magic F Grant Hill, who missed three games with a sore foot, came off the bench for the first time this season. He finished with seven points. … Hinrich is shooting career-highs from the field (44.7 percent), 3-point range (40 percent) and free throw line (82.4 percent). … Deng had hit 31 free throws in a row before missing one in the third quarter.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Chicago
B. Gordon B. Gordon
7-17,  25 Pts
5 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Orlando
D. Howard D. Howard
6-11,  17 Pts
14 Rebs, 2 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Thursday, Mar 8