As the Chicago Bulls faced the Orlando Magic on Friday night, they again proved why the term “short-handed” defines them. For the second-straight night, they were without Derrick Rose, Richard Hamilton, Marco Belinelli, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah, and yet again, they managed to pull off an 87-86 victory.
To start off, the Bulls showed their offensive woes by shooting a horrific 29.4% from the field in the first quarter. They only made five shots, four of which were in the paint. The remainder of their points were a result of made free throws. Fortunately for Chicago, they drew fouls and shot their free throw well enough to only be down 14-19 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter proved to be somewhat better as the Bulls outscored the Magic 26-24. Chicago retrieved their first lead of the quarter after a three-point shot by Kirk Hinrich for the 30-27 lead. Following the three, the Bulls were able to score on the next four possessions. But at the same time, Orlando’s Beno Udrih began to get in rhythm offensively. Shot after shot after shot, and they continued to fall for Udrih.
Going into the third quarter, Chicago trailed 40-43, and the score remained just as close throughout the entire quarter. The Bulls’ shooting was much better as they shot 50% from the field, but Udrih continued to score closing out the quarter with 16 of the Magic’s 27 third quarter points. Udrih’s offensive reign ended there though.
After sitting out about three minutes of the fourth quarter, he returned to the lineup for Orlando and failed to score at all. On the other hand, Chicago was able to attain a nine-point lead with the help of Nate Robinson and his instant offense. At that point, the Magic took a timeout, and it seemed to help stop the Bulls’ run and cut down the lead to one.
In the end, it came down to the final play as Orlando had possession. The ball was inbounded to Udrih, who drove into the lane, but with some tough Chicago defense, Butler got away with the ball. The Magic were unable to foul until 0.2 seconds remained since the Bulls were able to get several quick passes throughout the court.
Both Deng and Robinson contributed 19 points apiece. Hinrich finished with 13 points while Boozer and Butler each had 12 points. For Orlando, Udrih led the way with 27 points and 7 rebounds.
The Bulls are now 42-33 and are the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. They will be back in action on Sunday, April 7 to face the Detroit Pistons at 6:30 PM CT.