The Bulls visit Orlando tonight on the first night of a back-to-back. For the Magic the games are against a Chicago team with multiple threats.
To watch the game live or on demand here in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12 midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS THE BULLS VISIT ORLANDO
The Bulls are directly above Orlando in the Eastern Conference, sitting 11th but having played two games less. Five players reached double figure scoring as the Bulls lost at home on Wednesday night to the New York Knicks.
Orlando again tasted defeat last time out, a home court defeat 123-108 to the Toronto Raptors. That loss saw Orlando remain 12th in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls have won 5 of 10 games on the road this season. Orlando have won only 4 of 11 games in the Amway. Season records see Orlando at 8-14, whilst Chicago are 8-12. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Bulls have a 4-6 record, whilst Orlando are sat gloomily at 2-8. Orlando have lost their last four games, Chicago just their last game.
I’m going to reiterate but update the statistic from our last preview as it shows the problem facing Orlando. Since Markelle Fultz got injured Orlando have been in freefall. Fourteen games have been played with only 2 victories. That is the worst record in the NBA for that stretch. Then there have been 7 games where Orlando failed to register 100 points. On only 3 occasions have the team made it to scoring in excess of 110 points.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE CHICAGO BULLS
This Chicago Bulls team is possibly not hitting the heights many expected before the season began. However having played two games less gives a somewhat false impression of their season so far. If those games were won the Bulls season record would see them being tied for 6th in the Conference.
The Bulls come into the game as the NBA’s 17th ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 114.8 points per game. Chicago are ranked defensively at 24th, conceding an average of 117.1 points per game.
Offensively they do play at a very fast pace, ranking 3rd in the NBA. Scoring wise 41% of Chicago’s points per game come from beyond the arc. They shoot almost 48% from the field and over 37% with the 3 ball.
Defensively they rate badly in respect of blocks per game, 29th in the league. Chicago turn the ball over at a rate of almost 17 per game (worst record in the league). They commit on average almost 21 fouls per game.
THE CHICAGO BULLS SQUAD
According to ESPN the Bulls have 2 absences for tonight. Otto Porter Jr (11.6 PPG) is out for tonight with a back issue. Wendall Carter Jr (12.8 PPG) is out for several weeks with a quadricep contusion.
Last game Coach Billy Donovan started Zach LaVine (26.5 PPG), Lauri Markkanen (19.6 PPG), Coby White (15.3 PPG), Patrick Williams (9.7 PPG) and Daniel Gafford (5.3 PPG).
From the bench came Thaddeus Young (10.9 PPG), Garrett Temple (9.1 PPG), Denzel Valentine (6.9 PPG) and Tomas Satoransky (4.6 PPG). They also get solid contributions from the bench from Ryan Arcidiacono (5.2 PPG) and Cristiano Felicio (2.3 PPG) amongst others.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: CHICAGO BULLS
The all time head-to-head record in the 111 regular season games played sees the Magic trailing by 51-60.
Our recent record with the Bull sees the Magic win one, then the Bulls do.
We only met once last season, winning the game 95-103 in the Amway.
The 2018-19 season saw the series split 2 & 2, both teams taking a road and a home win.
Prior to that season the Bulls had won the previous 5 meetings between us.
In the playoffs the record for games is 6-4 to Chicago, being tied 1-1 for series victories. The Magic won 4-2 in the 1995 Eastern Conference Semi-finals, but in 1996 were swept 4-0 in the Conference Final.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
For those embracing the tank then the injury report is definitely favourable. The squad of 17 is now standing at 11 fit players and one absent. According to ESPN:
Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) is absent to be with the Lakeland Magic. The NBA G League season begins on February 10th in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World.
Michael Carter-Williams (5.1 PPG) is out with a foot injury. There is now no timetable for his return, having suffered a setback.
Al-Farouq Aminu is still out again after recovering from knee surgery. He has been involved in practices and is listed as possible to return on the upcoming road trip.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery.
And finally Aaron Gordon (13.8 PPG) will miss 4 to 6 weeks with a severe left ankle sprain, suffered in the defeat to Toronto on Sunday night.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP AS THE BULLS VISIT ORLANDO
Coach Clifford could keep the starting unit from the last Raptors loss.
That unit consisted of Cole Anthony (11 PPG), Evan Fournier (17.6 PPG), James Ennis III (5.5 PPG), Gary Clark (3.6 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (22.5 PPG).
From the bench again came Terrence Ross (14.1 PPG), Khem Birch (7.1 PPG), Chuma Okeke (4.2 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (9.6 PPG) and Mo Bamba (4.4 PPG)
Jordan Bone (4 PPG) who featured in the Toronto games has now been waived and is replaced by the signing of Frank Mason III. Mason is seen as a good pick up who can provide shooting and cover at the guard position.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 12th
SEASON RECORD – 8-14
HOME RECORD – 4-7
ROAD RECORD – 4-7
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 3-2
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 7-1
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 5-1
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 27TH OF 30 (105.5)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 20TH OF 30 (112.3)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 14TH OF 30 (111.6)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-8
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 7-6
WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 5-2
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-0
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 3-1
WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 6-2
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 8-7
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 1-7
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 42 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 84 – GAME DAY 14 NEW YORK KNICKS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 132 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Check out our podcast Penny For Your Thoughts.
In the latest episode we are joined by special guest Perry Riggs (Audio Only), Orlando Magic Team/Floor Assistant and Magic fan to review last weeks games against the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings and LA Clippers. We preview the week’s fixtures with the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls. Perry also shares his experiences about working for the Orlando Magic, rebounding for players pregame, setting up the arena and being their to help Magic players during a game.
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KEYS TO THE GAME AS THE BULLS VISIT ORLANDO
As the Bulls visit Orlando it will again be no easy task for a struggling Magic team.
This Chicago squad has threats from many positions. LaVine is surely a certainty for the All Star game this season. Markkanen and White are scoring easily and the veteran Thad Young is resurgent.
They are still underperforming on what was expected from them for the season. That being said at 5 and 5 across their last 10 games they are showing signs of coming to life.
Orlando are struggling on offence but Chicago are not the league’s best on D. Could this be an opportunity for Terrence Ross to regain some confidence and form?
However you have to expect their pace to cause Orlando some difficulties, especially if they are able to force turnovers. This has been a source of trouble in recent weeks for Orlando and one factor in a declining efficiency on defence.
LET’S GO MAGIC!