D.J. Augustin, the Chicago Bulls’ leading scorer, was unavailable for Monday night’s matchup against the Orlando Magic because of the birth of his son, but this didn’t prevent the Bulls from achieving the 108-95 victory in their final home game of the regular season.
Chicago got on the scoreboard first after a Carlos Boozer jump shot. Once the Magic got their first shot of the night, the Bulls proceeded to go on a 10-0 run. Soon enough, though, Orlando went on a 10-0 run of its own.
The combination of runs resulted in a close game, but the Bulls maintained the lead throughout the quarter. It was a one-point game late into the period until Taj Gibson made a pair of free throws. Mike Dunleavy then drained a three to give Chicago the five-point lead heading into the second quarter.
Jimmer Fredette took D.J. Augustin’s spot in the rotation. Unlike Augustin, though, Fredette played throughout the entire second quarter.
Chicago opened the second quarter with an 8-5 run that gave it the eight-point lead. The Bulls were able to keep up that pace offensively, and managed to extend the lead to double figures for the majority of the remaining time. Their defense also played a factor in their 57-44 halftime lead, as the Magic committed five turnovers of their 11 first half turnovers in that quarter.
The third quarter didn’t go quite as smoothly for the Bulls, though.
A 13-7 run by Orlando brought its deficit back into single figures. This prompted a Chicago timeout, but it proved to not be very beneficial. Instead, the Magic cut the lead further, 67-64, but the Bulls retaliated. They finished out the quarter strong with Boozer, Jimmy Butler, Dunleavy and Fredette combining for 14 points to give their team the 81-70 lead heading into the final period.
The Bulls managed to maintain their lead in the fourth quarter, partly thanks to Fredette’s nine points in the quarter. The Magic, on the other hand, struggled to score for the majority of the period. Nearly half of their fourth quarter points actually came in the final 2:43 of the game.
Dunleavy led all scorers with 22 points, and also added five assists. Joakim Noah contributed a near triple-double once again with 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Fredette followed with 17 points to lead Chicago’s bench players.
Tonight’s win keeps the Bulls tied with the Toronto Raptors for the No. 3 seed in the East, as both teams now own records of 48-33.
Chicago will conclude its regular season Wednesday night when visiting the Charlotte Bobcats for a 7 p.m. central game.