10 observations: Magic sweep season series from sloppy Bulls for first time in 16 years

10 observations: Magic sweep season series from sloppy Bulls for first time in 16 years originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Bulls, already locked into the play-in game against the Atlanta Hawks featuring the nine and 10 seeds, fell to the Orlando Magic 113-98 on Sunday in Florida.

Here are 10 observations:

---The Bulls’ magic number to clinch homecourt advantage for the 9-10 seeds play-in game remained at three. That’s any combination of three Bulls victories or Hawks losses over the remaining four games for both teams.

---The Magic swept the four-game season series. It’s the first time the Magic swept the season series from the Bulls in 16 years since the 2007-08 season. That doesn’t account for the one-game season series in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season.

---The Bulls tied their season-high with 21 turnovers. Those led to 28 points for the Magic, who lost Franz Wagner and Jonathan Isaac to injuries during the game.

---The Magic have the fourth-highest scoring bench in the league and more than doubled the Bulls’ reserves in scoring, enjoying a 43-20 advantage. Markelle Fultz’s 17 points led the Magic reserves. Meanwhile, even with Alex Caruso out and coach Billy Donovan using a nine-man rotation, Jevon Carter drew another “Did Not Play---Coach’s Decision” designation.

---Caruso sat after aggravating the left ankle injury that knocked him out of Friday’s victory over the New York Knicks. Caruso, who also is battling a sore toe, needs to play at least 20 minutes in two of the remaining four games to be eligible for All-Defense teams. If Caruso hits the 65-game minimum requirement, he’s a lock to repeat after earning first-team honors for the first time in his career last season.

Coby White played after also leaving the Knicks game with an ankle injury. He finished with 11 points and six assists on 4-for-11 shooting.

---Javonte Green continued the storybook nature to his season’s close by starting for Caruso and sinking his first five shots, including two 3-pointers. Green, coming off career-highs in points and rebounds in his first double-double, started not only because Donovan consistently talked in recent seasons about his ability to complement the starters but also because Torrey Craig remains not at 100 percent from his lingering knee injury.

Green was one of the few bright spots for the Bulls, scoring 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting with eight rebounds and three blocks.

---Defensively, this meant Green matched up against Paolo Banchero, to whom he cedes six inches. The Magic are a long team across the board, wreaking matchup havoc. Green drew two quick fouls, ceding to Craig. And the Bulls fouled over the limit by the midway point of the first quarter.

---That length also applied defensively. The Bulls had more first-quarter turnovers than field goals (six) and tied their lowest-scoring first quarter of the season. In three of the four meetings against the Magic this season, the Bulls failed to crack 100 points.

---DeMar DeRozan, the league leader in fourth-quarter scoring, scored 14 of his 30 in the final frame. The league leader in minutes also logged 40 and played consecutively from the 4 minute, 41 second mark of the third to when Donovan cleared the bench with 1:29 left. DeRozan committed seven turnovers, one off his career-worst total.

---Nikola Vucevic shot 1-for-9 and missed all four 3-point attempts against his former team. The Magic have won six of seven games over the last two seasons.

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