Chicago Bulls make it seven straight against the Orlando Magic

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 20: Nikola Mirotic
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 20: Nikola Mirotic /

The Orlando Magic traveled to the United Center to take on the Chicago Bulls, owners of a truly improbable six game win streak. The Bulls and their bench looked to keep up its hot play against a struggling Magic squad.

The Chicago Bulls, yes those Chicago Bulls that are supposed to be tanking for a top three pick, just keep winning. Fans are stuck in a bind, as we all want a top pick to rally around, but this team has other plans.

Kris Dunn is blossoming before our eyes, Nikola Mirotic is apparently the most important player in the NBA, and if anyone slanders David Nwaba I’ll meet you in Temecula.

The Bulls won, extending their winning streak to seven games, now the second longest streak in the NBA. The Houston Rockets finally lost on Wednesday night to the Los Angeles Lakers, meaning only the Golden State Warriors have a longer winning streak than Chicago.

First Quarter

The Bulls came roaring out of the gates on a 12-0 run. Lauri Markkanen got off to a hot start, scoring four points during the run. The Bulls were able to get him the ball in the post on Mario Hezonja and Markannen took advantage, drawing a foul.

After Markkanen’s quick four points, Denzel Valentine drilled two 3s with a Robin Lopez layup sandwiched in the middle.

Valentine showed off his handles, putting the moves on Jonathan Simmons then dishing to Lopez.

Despite Chicago’s hot start, Orlando would battle back and tighten the gap to 25-24 after two D.J. Augustin free throws. The shots the Bulls were hitting stopped going in and they turned the ball over, making it easier for the Magic to battle back.

End 1Q: Orlando 24 – Chicago 31

Second Quarter

Bobby Portis scored eight points in the second quarter, showcasing his offensive arsenal. He splashed a 3 courtesy of a Nwaba dish, scored down low, and punked Hezonja in the post for a nice layup.

Jerian Grant, who I’m not a big fan of, also came out guns blazing in the second. He scored six points and handed out two assists, including an aggressive drive helped by the fact the Magic decided to stop playing defense.

One thing that caught my eye: Grant’s step-back two-pointer with a foot on the line. As well as he played in this game, that’s a classic Jerian Grant shot, and it’s not a good one. His herky jerky mid-range game can be solid but he settles for too many contested two’s.

Chicago’s bench scored 28 points in the first half and were again essential to maintaining and extending the lead. Portis and Mirotic have been unstoppable together off the bench.

Halftime: Orlando 48 – Chicago 59

Third Quarter

The Bulls absolutely owned the third quarter and Dunn did a little bit of everything. Dunn scored 11 points and handed out three assists, along with a steal that lead to this saucy fastbreak.


There was also a nice look ahead pass in transition from Justin Holiday to Markkanen, who dunked with authority while being fouled by Nikola Vucevic. Of course, Lauri Bird converted the and-1.

The Bulls have really been passing better and looking up in transition during this winning streak. Holiday’s passing in particular has impressed me as he’s toned down his chucking habits.

Dunn has looked leaps and bounds better in the PnR, getting to his spots and making mid-range pull ups and floaters, something he struggled with at the beginning of the season.

3Q: Orlando 66 – Chicago 90

Fourth Quarter

Since Chicago had a 24 point lead heading into the fourth quarter, there wasn’t much reason to watch and not a lot to look for in these garbage time minutes.

King Niko did swat Vucevic, adding to the lore of our secondary lord and savior (behind Lauri) Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic recorded his second straight double-double, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Next: Are the Chicago Bulls still trying to tank?

Everyone’s favorite Brazilian, Cristiano Felicio got to see the floor in the fourth. Felicio played six minutes and so did Quincy Pondexter. Bulls beat the Magic 112-94.