ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic get back on track with a victory against the visiting Chicago Bulls 103-95. Early on it looked as if Orlando was going to let another game slip into the loss column as the game started with a Chicago Bulls 9-0 run, in which Orlando gave the ball away 3 times.
On a night where Nikola Vucevic had a solid game, finishing with 21 points on 9/17 shooting, it was Terrence Ross, Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon who had key performances to seal the win for Orlando.
Terrence Ross lit up the score board off the bench, pouring in 26 points connecting on 6 of his 13 three-point attempts outscoring the Chicago bench by himself. Ross checked in midway through the first quarter and immediately went to work splashing home 2 back to back three’s.
Aaron Gordon bounced back with a solid outing in the form of another double-double of 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks.
Jonathan Isaac stuffed the stat sheet finishing with, 13 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks. Mo Bamba also contributed 4 blocks on the night.
Coach Clifford on the defensive effort and struggles of the Magic, “Both of them yeah [Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac], I thought they were great. But I mean, that’s who we have to be, we’re long, we have size, we have versatility. We have guys who can guard their own guys and we’re not doing that and tonight in the second half we did better.”
“The good players which he is, you know, they’re always trying to figure out how they can get out of whatever this is, a mini slump or whatever and a lot of it is we talked for a long time yesterday. He knows, he knows his game. He knows how he has to play, and like I said, I mean those guys are always trying to figure out is one or two things to get yourself going”, Coach Clifford on Aaron Gordon’s performance.
The Magic started off slow tonight on both of ends of the floor. At the end of the first half, Orlando trailed Chicago by three, 54-51.
It was in the second half where Orlando revved up the intensity, especially on the defensive side of the floor, hosting a local block party at the Amway Center, rejecting 13 shots.
Coach Clifford’s comments on Bamba’s activity tonight, “I think as he gets more comfortable, it’s you know, his activity, you know his reaction giving his second effort on a play, things that are harder for you know bigger guys to learn once they get into the league.”
Clifford then went on to say, “He didn’t get chances tonight, but you know they closed to him, finding a way to shoot his spot up three’s, you know to me, that’s his greatest strength.”
Orlando did a great job defensively on Zach LaVine especially in the 4th quarter. In the final period of the game, the Magic held him to 4 points on 2/10 shooting also going 0/4 from three-point range. Zach finished with 26 points, however took 26 shots.
There was a play in the 4th quarter where LaVine caught the ball in the corner forcing Isaac to rotate over and defend him. Isaac stood his ground, didn’t bite on LaVine’s shot fake, and forced a Chicago Bulls turnover.
While the Magic left their home court with a victory, they finished the night making just 65.2% of their free throws (15/23) something they’ll have to be better at as a team going forward if they want to continue to succeed.
Next up on the schedule, the Magic get a few days rest before Joel Embiid and Philadelphia 76ers come to town this Friday.