Magic hang on to defeat struggling Bulls

CHICAGO -- So far in December, the Orlando Magic have played eight games on the road and just one at home. The road hasn't been kind to the Magic, but the last stop in the cluster of away games was successful.

Guard Arron Afflalo scored 23 points and Orlando survived a late-game dry spell to pull out an 83-82 victory over Chicago on Monday at the United Center.

After trailing by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, the Bulls had a chance to tie the score, but forward Luol Deng missed a cutting layup attempt with 1.7 seconds on the clock.

"The most important thing was that we created our own destiny tonight," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We put ourselves in a place where we had a chance to win. It was a game played like the first one to 80 would win."

Orlando's Glen Davis hit two free throws to put the Magic ahead 83-79 and forward Mike Dunleavy swished a meaningless half-court shot at the buzzer.

Deng led the Bulls with 26 points, while Dunleavy and guard D.J. Augustin added 14 points each. Davis and guard Jameer Nelson had 14 points each for the Magic.

Orlando (8-17) had lost eight of its previous nine games, but improved to 3-11 on the road this season. Chicago is now 3-10 since losing Derrick Rose to a knee injury.

"We want to get home now and put together a run," Afflalo said. "We're a healthy team now with good chemistry and shooting the ball well. Now we just need some Ws."

The Magic went ahead 80-72 on a Davis jumper with 3:42 remaining. That's when Orlando went cold and didn't score again until a free throw by Afflalo with 6.8 seconds remaining.

Chicago (9-14) scored 11 of 13 points on free throws while pulling within 80-74 with 2:57 left. The Bulls missed two chances to draw closer before Augustin drained an open 3-pointer with 1:16 left after Nelson was floored by a screen set by forward Carlos Boozer.

On Chicago's next possession, Boozer had the ball poked away by Davis for a turnover. After another defensive stop, center Joakim Noah's running bank shot brought the Bulls within 80-79 with 19.4 seconds left.

The Bulls tried to get a steal and finally fouled Afflalo with 6.8 seconds left. He split the free throws, leaving the lead at two points.

On the other end, Noah caught the inbounds pass and waited for Deng to put a move on rookie Victor Oladipo. Deng seemed to have a clear look at the potential game-tying layin, but it bounced too hard off the backboard and Davis snared the rebound.

"When it left my hand, I knew I missed it," Deng said. "I couldn't really grab it back. I was falling and couldn't get the offensive rebound. Just a bad, bad miss. My fault."

Point guard Marquis Teague started at point guard for Chicago, while guard Kirk Hinrich missed his second straight game with a sore back. Coach Tom Thibodeau made a change in the second half, though, running newcomer Augustin out with the starters. This was Augustin's third game with the Bulls after being released by Toronto last week.

At the start of the game, Chicago scored the first six points, then Orlando answered with a 13-0 run. After the opening flurry, the Bulls made two of 16 shots during the rest of the first quarter.

In the third quarter, Afflalo knocked down five of seven shots from the field and scored 13 points as the Magic stretched the advantage to 63-46. The Bulls finally generated some offense and used a 13-2 run to trim the deficit to six points before Afflalo finished the third quarter with a pair of free throws with 0.8 seconds on the clock.

"We were down big and I thought we started grinding," Thibodeau said. "We started playing harder, came back and had a shot at it. You hate to be playing from behind all the time."

NOTES: Chicago released veteran PG Mike James on Monday. He became expendable when the team signed G D.J. Augustin on Friday. James, 38, played in seven games this season, averaging 0.3 points. "We just wanted to keep some flexibility as we move forward," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Mike's a great guy who did a great job for us." ... Glen Davis was in Orlando's starting lineup Monday, even after saying his left shoulder "popped out" when he ran into the basket support during Sunday's loss in Oklahoma City. "I've been out of basketball too long to let that boo-boo hurt me," said Davis, who missed time with a separated shoulder last season. ... Chicago G Kirk Hinrich missed his second straight game with a sore back, while Marquis Teague again filled in as the starting point guard. ... Monday marked Orlando's 14th day on the road in the last 16 days. The Magic played eight road games and one home date during that span. Next up is a six-game homestand, beginning Wednesday against Utah.