Nikola Vucevic and the Bulls come to Orlando tonight to face the Magic. On Orlando’s Game Day 20 the team from Chicago are a tough challenge for what is likely to be another under-strength Magic squad.
The tip time is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being 12:00 midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
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The Matchup As Vucevic And The Bulls Come To Orlando
Orlando fell to the Charlotte Hornets by 106-99. Late in the third things were looking good for Orlando. Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr and Mo Bamba each knocked down a three as the Magic scored 9 points unanswered to take a 6 point lead. The Hornets response was 15 unanswered points to take a 5 point lead into the final quarter, pushing it further to a game high 12.
One encouraging stat of the game was that all five Magic starters scored in double figures. Rookies Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner scored 17 and 16 points respectively. Mo Bamba recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Wendell Carter Jr totalled a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Last time out Chicago have a surprise loss by 113-118 on the road to the Houston Rockets. Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 8 points.
The Season So Far
Orlando’s record is now a losing 4-15 with the Magic sitting last in the Eastern Conference. They have now lost 4 games consecutively and won only 2 of the last 10 played. At home Orlando have won just one of eight games played.
Chicago have a 12-7 winning record that sees them placed 3rd in the Eastern Conference, having won 6 of their last 10 games. They have lost their last two games.
Orlando’s scoring average again dropped to 100.8 points per game, whilst conceding an average of 110.6 points per game. The Magic statistics for shooting, steals, turnovers etc along with their ratings for offensive play (27th) and defensive (28th) starkly show the struggles on both ends of the court.
Chicago’s play has been strong despite the recent losses. They score 107.4 points per game, conceding 104.6. They shoot the lowest number of threes in the league but when they shoot it few teams are more accurate. Their scoring prowess is from within the arc and sees them get a high number of free throws.
Head-To-Head: The Chicago Bulls
The all time head-to-head record in the 114 regular season games played sees the Magic trailing by 53-61.
Recent history sees no team dominate. Last season the Magic take the series 2-1, the loss being in the Amway Center, with a win both at home and on the road.
The previous season through the NBA COVID break resulted in the teams meeting only once, Orlando winning the game 95-103 in the Amway Center. The 2018-19 season saw the series split 2 & 2, both teams taking a road and a home win.
In the playoffs the record for games is 6-4 to Chicago, being tied 1-1 for series victories. The Magic famously won 4-2 in the 1995 Eastern Conference Semi-finals, but in 1996 were swept 4-0 in the Conference Final.
Our Opponents – The Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls are a different team to last season, with depth and experience in all positions.
Under experienced head coach Billy Donovan they have a starting lineup of Lonzo Ball (PG), DeMar DeRozan (SG), Zach LaVine (SF), Javonte Green (PF) and Nikola Vucevic (C).
From the bench comes Alex Caruso (PG) and Derrick Jones Jr (SF) amongst others.
The injury report on ESPN shows only one issue, the loss of first choice power forward Patrick Williams for 6 months to wrist surgery in late October.
The Orlando Magic Injury Report
As you were for the Magic on this front. At the time of writing ESPN shows Orlando as having the following issues.
Cole Anthony is listed as out again with an ankle injury.
Terrence Ross is listed as day-to-day with aback spasms and is questionable to play tonight.
E’Twaun Moore remains out with a sprained left knee.
Michael Carter-Williams is out after surgery to remove a bone fragment and repair his left ankle ligament.
Jonathan Isaac continues to be out as he rehabilitates from a left knee ACL injury that saw him miss all of last season.
Markelle Fultz is still out after last season’s left knee ACL tear and subsequent surgery. He is taking part in more training activities, including contact work.
The Magic Lineup As Vucevic And The Bulls Come To Orlando
Coach Mosely returned to a previous starting unit of the season against Charlotte on Wednesday. That unit was Jalen Suggs (PG), Gary Harris (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF) and Mo Bamba (C).
Chuma Okeke, Moe Wagner, RJ Hampton and Mychal Mulder came off the bench.
Robin Lopez and Ignas Brazdeikis were available but did not feature.
Check Out Other Orlando Magic U.K. Content
On each game day make sure to check Twitter and Facebook to play along with our Magic Moments competition. Simply comment with your prediction for each of five questions we will ask on that night’s game. At the end of the season we will send out a prize to whoever tops the league with the most correct predictions.
Be sure to subscribe to Orlando Magic U.K. YouTube channel for episodes of our podcast Penny For Your Thoughts.
Final Thoughts As Vucevic And The Bulls Come To Orlando
If you are in the Amway Center tonight stand and cheer Nikola Vucevic. He was a true and loyal member of the Magic, growing to be a two time All-Star. He will always be a fan favourite, much loved and his statistics show what a leader he has been for us.
Once the game begins an under-staffed Magic will have to find a way to play through all four quarters if they are to take a win. Turnovers and fouls will be punished by the Bulls and defence of the paint will have to be at its very best. Caruso leads the league in steals, DeRozan in free throws. LaVine is 6th in the NBA for points per game with 26.1.
Both Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner will again play against exceptional opponents. Wendell Carter Jr and Mo Bamba could be key for Orlando if they can dominate the glass on both ends of the court.
Let’s Go Magic!