CHICAGO – The Orlando Magic defeated the Chicago Bulls 96-94 at the United Center on Wednesday night, evening out Orlando’s current road trip to on a and one.
Defense wa the key to this game, as the Magic held the Bulls to only 33 points in the first half of the game.
Orlando managed 12 steals and two blocked shots by Jonathan Isaac, and to the Bulls lead the game in rebounds, Orlando took advantage of key rebounds to win the 17 second chance points.
Paolo Banchero continuous to emerge as a leader on the Magic. He lead the Magic with 17 points, including a game winner in the final seconds of the game.
Cole Anthony scored 16 points off of the bench, while Gaga Bitaze added a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bulls were lead by Zach Levine who lead all scorers with 19 points, with former Magic center Nicola Vucevic scoring 17 and Alex Caruso adding 16 points from the bench.
One concern, is that when the Magic play a strong game, they tend to let up. The Magic took its foot off the gas a little bit. The Bulls began to chip away and tied the game with 7.5 seconds to go in the game.
However, Orlando was able to pull out the win thanks to the reigning Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero. On the final offensive possession of the game, Banchero got the ball in the post and was defended by Bulls guard Alex Caruso. He was able to shoot a fadeaway in the paint to take the lead and ice the game.
The Magic’s win gets the team back over .500 and enables some confidence within the team going into the second half of the road trip.
The Magic and Bulls will play each other once again on Friday night in the In-Season Tournament. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET from the United Center.