ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Magic (19-31) lost to the Chicago Bulls (23-26) 128-109 on the second night of a back to back, and it showed.
The Magic battled to a 110-105 loss to the Miami Heat on Friday Night. A night in which Jimmy Butler put on a 4th quarter clinic to take out the Magic.
Now, the night after, Orlando came out on the floor flat, and the Chicago Bulls took advantage of it.
Nikola Vucevic loses to come back and battle his former team. Vucevic had a double double against Orlando with 25 points and 13 rebounds and at times seemed unstoppable.
Orlando’s Cole Anthony and Moritz Wagner stepped up for Orlando and took a team that was down by as much as 25 points and brought them to within a five point deficit late in the game.
“I think in general, less that and X’s and 0’s thing, it was an energy thing.” said Wagner “We were just flat. I think we’ve shown we’re capable and I know we were capable. This is no excuse here, but I think we were flat. Let go a little bit of our focus and gave in. I think we gotta do better.”
“We tried to go shot for shot , and that’s what started it. We tried to outscore them.” Said Orlando Head Coach Jamal Mosley. “Back to back’s are difficult. It forces you to give in sometimes. So that’s why we started doing, going to the easy shot exchange.”
When you look at the numbers in the final scorers report, Orlando was stronger in the paint with 56 points vs 44 points, wow pretty much the same in rebounding, and dominated the fast break 13-5. But when you’re scoring and getting defensive stops, you don’t necessarily need to run fast breaks.
Chicago got pretty much what they wanted on the offensive floor of much of the first three quarters. Key players were Vucevic, LaVine, and Derozen.
LaVine’s athleticism and shooting gave the Magic problems, especially later in the game. Derozen, and excellent shooter and never one to give up an open mid-range jumper, patiently worked to get his shots in after Orlando’s defense started becoming more of a challenge as the game drew on.
Another player that was crucial in the win was the always pesky Alex Caruso. Caruso is an excellent defender and is great at disrupting offensive flows as well as distributing the ball. His numbers didn’t show it , but he was a strong defensive presence.
Mosley stuck with a final crew that was able to give the team energy late in the game. Coming on strong and finishing up the game. Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Mo Wagner, Bol Bol, and Admiral Schofield came in mid fourth quarter and managed to drive down the Chicago lead. They gave Orlando the best fight and momentum, the best that they had all night.
“I had two timeouts left, but decided to stick with them.” said Mosley ” I decided to stick with their momentum.”
Cole Anthony finished with 27 points, Wager with 21 points and were the two big scorers for the Magic.
Paolo Banchero was held to 9 points and 7 rebounds.
Jonathan Isaac played is managed nine minutes and scored five points, four rebounds and 1 steal. Wendell Carter Jr was the only magic started with double digit points with 11.
“We’re going to have to find some energy” Said Anthony “Those back to backs ain’t going nowhere, so we’ve gotta find some energy somewhere.”
The Magic travel to Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Monday, which is the start of a four game road trip. The Magic return to the Amway Center on February 7th to face the New York Knicks.