Game Notes: Bulls at Magic
Derrick Rose and friends squeak out a win in Orlando.
by Nick Wilke
Dwight Howard is inactive for the game as he serves his one game suspension after picking up his League-leading 18th technical foul April 6 against the Bobcats.
The Magic will also be without forward Quentin Richardson as he serves his two-game suspension enforced by the NBA after shoving Charlotte guard Gerald Henderson in the face on April 6.
JJ Redick is inactive due to a lower abdominal strain.
The Magic start with Brandon Bass, Jameer Nelson, Ryan Anderson, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson.
The Bulls start with Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Keith Bogans and Joakim Noah.
Derrick Rose gets off to a quick start for the Bulls with 7 points in the first two minutes.
Ryan Anderson is also getting off to a hot start for the Magic, working inside and outside, scoring 10 points in the first seven minutes. He has also grabbed four boards.
At the midway point of the quarter, Rose goes coast to coast for the easy lay-in, pushing his point total to 11 in the first seven minutes. All the Magic fans can say is OOOHHHH and AAHHH while shaking their heads.
The Magic are hanging tough with the Bulls in the paint despite the absence of Howard. Ryan Anderson is playing tough in the paint, instead of hanging outside the three-point line, which is much needed for the Magic right now.
Rose closes the half for the Bulls after splitting the screen with the nasty crossover on Malik Allen and finishing with a lay-up. Bulls lead 32-24 at the end of the first quarter behind Rose’s 15 points on 6-8 shooting.
The Magic start off the second quarter on a 6-0 run, causing Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau to call a quick timeout. After the timeout, the Bulls answer back with a 6-0 run of their own, causing Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy to call a timeout.
Brandon Bass ignites the crowd with a ferocious dunk after a perfectly executed pick and roll with Jason Richardson. Thibodeau has seen enough, so he calls another timeout to put Rose and Boozer back in.
Magic cut the lead to two after a long three from Jameer Nelson as the shot clock was winding down after a broken play.
Rose answers back with another one of his acrobatic lay-ups on the other end. He has too many moves that it’s hard to describe what he just did.
After Jason Richardson scores on two consecutive possessions, the game is tied at 46 with two minutes left in the half. Thibodeau calls another timeout, and the Magic fans are getting really hyped.
The Bulls scored on consecutive possessions after the timeout and were looking to close out the half with a designed play for Boozer. He came off a screen and airballed a 20-foot jumper with three seconds left. It was just enough time for Jameer Nelson to dribble three times and drained a half-court heave to pull the Magic within one point at half. Bulls lead at half 50-49.
Ryan Anderson continues his hot streak by sinking a corner three. He is now 7-11 from the field and 3-5 from long range. Now, he is mainly hanging around the perimeter looking for threes, but still getting defensive boards.
The Magic and Bulls take turns exchanging the lead toward the end of the third quarter.
Turkoglu goes down hard after a missed lay-up and stays down for a minute or two. He walks off the court holding his side as he heads to the locker room. Jason Richardson enters the game for Turkoglu.
The Magic are playing with a frontcourt of Malik Allen and Ryan Anderson. Not much of an inside presence there. Allen is looking a little rusty in only his 16th appearance of the season.
Along with Allen and Anderson are Nelson, Arenas and Richardson. As one can probably tell, they are shooting lots of threes. The Magic are showing no urgency to get into the paint.
As the Magic are shooting perimeter shots, Rose and the rest of the Bulls are looking to drive the lane against little resistance. This would obviously be different if Dwight Howard was playing.
Anderson had a strong quarter as he finished the third quarter 5-8 from the field with 14 points. The Bulls lead 80-77.
Joakim Noah appears to be done for the game. The Bulls coaching staff is probably just resting him for the playoffs.
On the first possession of the quarter for the Magic, Richardson comes off two screens and drains a three to tie the game at 80.
D-Rose sinks a deep three over Chris Duhon with seven minutes remaining in the game. At this point, it looks like he is getting ready to take over the game.
The Magic defense is getting better as the game progresses. They are now forcing the Bulls to take tough shots as the shot clock winds down. They are not letting Rose get his way. Other Bulls players need to step up if the Bulls want to win this game because the Magic are not letting Rose take over.
The Bulls’ offense is really struggling now. They just committed turnovers on two straight possessions.
Richardson stole the ball from Boozer and finished on the other end with a lay-up, putting the Magic ahead 94-91 with three minutes to go.
Thibodeau is fuming now and calls a timeout.
The Bulls take back the lead after a Richardson errant pass that lead to a slam for Rose.
The two teams exchange free throws, so the Bulls lead by one point with just under two minutes to go.
With just 30 seconds remaining, Rose tries to take on the whole Magic team, but turns the ball over in the process.
Rose gets another chance after a Magic turnover by Brandon Bass. He drives the lane makes a pretty pass to Taj Gibson, who gets fouled as he goes up for the dunk. On the replay, it looked like a clean block by Richardson.
Gibson makes the first free throw, but missed the second. The ball hits the front of the rim and drops right into the hands of Deng, who slaps the ball out to Rose. The Magic fouled Rose to force him to make his free throws.
Rose calmly makes both free throws as some MVP chants echo through the Amway Center. The two free throws put the Bulls up 100-96.
After a broken play, Richardson makes a three pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining.
Boozer is fouled as he receives the inbounds pass, and he makes both free throws.
The Magic have one last play with two seconds left as they hope to send the game into overtime.
Nelson receives the inbounds pass, fakes out Rose with a pump-fake, and swishes a 25-foot three pointer just as the buzzer goes off. The call on the floor is no basket, but the refs go to the table to review it.
After the officials review, the call stands: No basket. Game over. Bulls win 102-99.
Game summary: The Magic put up a great battle without their Superman and MVP candidate Dwight Howard. The Bulls offense was getting very stagnant toward the end of the game due to aggressive defense by the Magic. The Bulls were able to skate to the finish line and capitalize at the stripe going 23-26 (88.5 percent).
Magic guard Jameer Nelson, who finished with 17 points and 11 assists, was satisfied with the effort his team gave without Howard, but wanted to win more than anything.
“We’re not here for moral victories, but we did do some great things on the court today,” Nelson said after the game. “We’re not a team that’s gonna say that we played the number one team in the east, and we played them well, so we’re happy. We’re not happy. We lost the game. We know we can do a lot of things better out there and it’s gonna take some work.”
Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who finished with 39 points on 13-17 shooting and five assists, wasn’t happy with the way the Bulls closed out the game.
“We had them and should easily have put them away, but we continue to let teams back,” Rose said. “It is going to hurt us if we continue to let teams do this. We have to learn how to put teams away.”
Rose was satisfied with the win even against a Magic team that was without Dwight Howard.
“A win is a win,” Rose said. “In this league, it’s hard to win even when the best player on the other team doesn’t play. Some of the players that come off the bench are playing for their opportunities so they play harder.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was just happy to come away from the game with a win.
“The Magic played extremely well,” Thibodeau said. “Our defense wasn’t very good, our rebounding was below average, and we didn’t take care of the ball. We were fortunate for the win.”
“They made 12 threes and when they make that many they usually win,” Thibodeau said. “We dodged a bullet in the end, got lucky.”