Orlando Magic dominate Chicago Bulls 113-98 to right the ship

Orlando, FL – The Orlando Magic (46-32) defeated the Chicago Bulls (37-41) at a sold-out Kia Center to strengthen their gameplay and rise up to Head Coach Jamahl Mosley’s standards.

Orlando, coming off a lackluster performance against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, dominated the game, building a 21-point lead in the third quarter.

Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs rises up to score vs the Chicago Bulls on April 7th, 2024 at the Kia Center Photo courtesy of the Orlando Magic

“I think they did a great job of taking on the challenge,” said Mosley. “One, [for] responding back from the Charlotte game, and then two, how we start quarters out, how we start the game. I think they did a great job focusing on the defensive end of the floor. Physical without fouling, finishing possessions out, active hands turning them over. All the things we talked about from the beginning of the game, they did.”

For the first time since hosting the Memphis Grizzlies, the Magic started the game hot, blowing out the Bulls 31-14 in the first quarter. Orlando also took care of the ball, committing only five turnovers in the first half.

Chicago battled back later in the game, coming within six points of Orlando, but the Magic put their foot back on the pedal and continued to dominate.

Orlando’s bench outscored Chicago 43-20, took advantage of 21 Bulls turnovers for 28 points, and hardened their defense to hold the Bulls under 100 points.

Orlando, Florida, USA, March 30, 2024, Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero #5 ruhes forward at the Kia Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

Paolo Banchero was the high scorer for the Magic, scoring 24 points, followed by Jalen Suggs with 19.

DeMar DeRozan had a game-high 30 points for the Bulls.

Franz Wagner was slow to get up and gingerly walked off his right ankle/foot after trying to go for that rebound. He went straight to the locker room. It was diagnosed as a sprained ankle, but x-rays were negative.

Jonathan Isaac continued to battle back spasms, which kept him on the bench on Friday against Charlotte. Isaac tried to give it a go, playing five minutes, but checked out of the game.

Markelle Fultz had his first back-to-back 10-point games since Jan. 31 – Feb. 2. It turns out that he is one of the voices that keeps the Magic players on point when things get tough, speaking up and refocusing the players on the task at hand and not the refs.

Orlando, Florida, USA, March 27, 2024, Orlando Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley points to someone during the game at the Kia Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

But at the center of things, it’s Mosley who has driven this car for three years, from the bottom of the NBA to an overachieving young team, turning what was supposed to be an NBA Playoff play-in team into one that has reached this place in the NBA Eastern Conference Standings.

“He is coach of the year… and that last game was on us players,” said Suggs, speaking on Mosley taking the blame for the Charlotte loss. “It shows a lot about his character and his humility, taking that on the chest as a grown man, but that was on us. Again, just a great job in responding and really understanding how to get us going. I think that’s what makes him so special. The connection that he has with all of us to where he says stuff like that, and we listen to him. We believe him because of everything that he’s done; both on the court, in the locker room, and off the court in life. You can tell that he cares, and with that, we want to pay it back tenfold. I think that’s what you saw tonight.”

The Magic are 18-0 at home against teams with records under 500 at the Kia Center.

Orlando heads out on a three-game road trip, with games against the Houston Rockets, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Philadelphia 76ers.

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