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Beede’s Breakdown: How Magic outlasted Bulls in overtime behind Franz Wagner’s 36 points

More than 48 minutes were needed to determine the winner of Saturday’s back-and-forth contest between the Magic and the Bulls at Kia Center.

Thanks to Franz Wagner’s game-high 36 points and a key change to Orlando‘s rotation down the stretch, Jamahl Mosley’s squad found a way to win 114-108 over Chicago in overtime.

The win was not only the Magic’s fifth in their last sixth games but it also clinched the season series against the Bulls. Orlando won the first two meetings at Chicago in November and the sides meet a fourth time in April on the Magic’s home court.

In a physical matchup Saturday night, both sides led by double figures at one point but Orlando locked down on defense to escape on top.

After the Bulls (25-28) totaled 36 points in the third quarter, the Magic limited Chicago to 22 combined in the fourth and overtime periods.

The Magic (29-24) have two days off before they host the Oklahoma City Thunder (35-17) in their lone national TV appearance of the regular season on Tuesday (TNT, 7:30).

Starting 5

For the sixth straight contest, guards Markelle Fultz and Jalen Suggs along with forwards Wagner and Paolo Banchero plus center Wendell Carter Jr. opened for the Magic.

The Bulls regularly collapsed defensively on Banchero when he caught the ball inside the arc. That allowed him to kick the ball out for a team-high 8 assists.

Banchero eventually bullied his way into the paint and ended up at the free throw line eight times, where he made seven attempts.

Wagner also attacked the basket often in the second quarter when he accounted for 11 of the team’s 26 points. But it was his fourth-quarter performance where he caught fire from 3-point range.

Playing the entire fourth and overtime periods, Wagner totaled 18 points in the final 17 minutes while shooting a combined 4 of 8 from beyond the arc.

Suggs (13 points) went 2 of 2 from 3 before the break but neither he nor Fultz were on the court in the fourth quarter.

Fultz crashed the boards with success (6 rebounds) but was inefficient from the floor (2 of 7) with just 5 points.

Similarly, Carter was ineffective against his former team and scored just 6 points in 26 minutes. Carter and Fultz shot a combined 0-of-4 from 3-point range.

Second Unit

After relying on his usual 10-man rotation with Cole Anthony, Gary Harris, Joe Ingles, Jonathan Isaac and Moe Wagner off the bench, Mosley made a significant in-game adjustment by inserting reserve center Goga Bitadze late in the contest.

Bitadze entered at the 9:19 mark of the fourth quarter and ended up on the court floor for the entire fourth and overtime periods.

Mosley closed out regulation with Anthony, Wagner, Banchero, Isaac and Bitadze against the Bulls, and the group played the majority of overtime, too. It was a lineup that hadn’t been used before this season.

Bitadze totaled 14 minutes of action, which was noteworthy after he had fallen out of Orlando’s rotation. Although he started 20 games earlier this season in place of Carter, who had fractured his left hand, Bitadze had returned to Orlando’s third unit.

Missing three of the last five games, he hadn’t seen more than 15 minutes in a single game since Jan. 19. Against the Bulls, Bitadze finished with 5 points, including a critical free throw that put Orlando ahead by 4 points with 16 seconds left in overtime.

Isaac played 25 minutes, his most in four seasons. He grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, including 6 on the offensive glass, to go with 3 blocks and 7 points. Isaac also at times helped to defend Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan, who finished with 28 points. Former Magic star Nikola Vucevic scored 26.

Anthony also had success grabbing rebounds (11) and added 14 points for his third double-double of the season. He boosted Orlando’s offense in overtime with 4 points.

Costly Turnovers

The Magic entered Saturday’s game with a 10-15 record when recording more or the same amount of turnovers as their opponent.

Orlando avoided adding to the loss column against the Bulls when it committed 15 individual turnovers that contributed to 31 points for Chicago.

In the third quarter alone, the Bulls scored 10 points off 4 Orlando turnovers. The Magic, in comparison, came up with just 9 points stemming in part from 6 individual Chicago turnovers.

Email Jason Beede at jbeede@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on X, known as Twitter, at @therealBeede.