THE FACTS: Playing 45 minutes in place of flu-ridden center Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson scored 21 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots for the Chicago Bulls in a 96-94 victory over the Orlando Magic. It was the first start of the season for the 6-foot-9 Gibson. Carlos Boozer scored a season-high 31 points for the Bulls and Luol Deng added 23 as they held off three Magic rallies in the second half to atone for an embarrassing home court loss against Charlotte two nights earlier.
Jameer Nelson matched his career high with 32 points for the Magic, but missed a short, contested jump shot that could have tied the game with 11 seconds left. It was the seventh straight loss for Orlando.
QUOTABLE: "The good thing about the NBA, you have a game either the next day or the day after so nobody should hang their heads. It's not like we're going out there and not playing hard."
THE STAT: Coming off a franchise-record 29-rebound effort against Miami on Monday night, Magic center Nikola Vucevic didn't get his first rebound until 2:54 remained in the first half. He finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
QUOTABLE II: "I just tried to frustrate him in the first half and take him away from the rebounding aspect. He was the one trying to take my side of the road (in college). That is what coach (Tim) Floyd pushed him to try to do and he always pushed me to try to defend it. It worked out the right way."
-- Gibson on Vucevic, his former college teammate at USC.
TURNING POINT: The Magic had trimmed an 18-point Chicago lead to two midway through the fourth quarter when Gibson dunked, scoring the first of eight straight points that left the Bulls with a 94-84 lead with three minutes left.
HOT: Boozer made six-of -eight shots and scored 13 points in the first quarter.
QUOTABLE III: "That set the tone for us. He had a huge first quarter and then Luol (Deng) was Luol, as usual, a little of everything. We got a lot of production from our starters."
-- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau
NOT: J.J. Redick scored seven points in 34 minutes for the Magic, making only one of eight 3-point shots.
ROOKIE WATCH: Magic rookie Maurice Harkless did not play for a second straight game after starting 20 in a row.
NOTABLE: Noah missed his first game of the season. ... The Magic's seven-game losing streak is their longest since they dropped eight straight in February of 2006. ... The Bulls have won seven of their last eight against the Magic, including two games this season.
UP NEXT: For the Bulls: Friday @ Miami, Monday vs. Cleveland, Wednesday vs. Milwaukee. For the Magic: Saturday vs. New York, Monday @ Portland, Wednesday @ Denver.