Pargo, Deng Strong Off Bench in Bulls Win
Chicago 102, Orlando 93
ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 7 (Ticker) -- Jannero Pargo went from inactive to being very active.
Pargo scored 16 of his season-high 23 points in the second half as the Chicago Bulls rallied for a 102-93 victory over the Orlando Magic.
In the third quarter, Pargo made three 3-pointers as the Bulls turned a 51-44 halftime deficit into a double-digit advantage entering the final period.
Pargo's 38-foot 3-pointer as time expired in the quarter gave the Bulls a 79-68 lead. He scored 11 points in a 20-9 run to end the quarter.
After the Magic rallied to pull within 81-80 with 6:54 remaining, the Bulls used a 14-3 run to again take control. Pargo drilled a 3-pointer and capped the burst with a jumper with 2:56 to play.
"We know Pargo makes big shots," Bulls forward Luol Deng said. "He comes ready every day and we look for him. If he's wide open, he's going to get the ball."
Pargo made 9-of-13 shots, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc, in his best performance since scoring 18 points against Washington in Game Three of an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series in May.
"It's been a lot of hard work," Pargo said. "I've been coming into practice early and staying late. I've been working on my shot and working on my game. I had an opportunity to come out and show it tonight and took advantage of it."
"When he (Pargo) gets hot, he can really get it done," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "His performance tonight was hugh factor. You always get an effort from him, always get defensive effort and energy."
Deng also was big off the bench, collecting 22 points and a season-high 10 rebounds as the Bulls (9-8) moved back over the .500 mark and avoided matching a season-high three-game losing streak.
Deng made 8-of-16 shots, with seven baskets coming on jumpers.
"I'm just getting more comfortable out there," said Deng, who is 35-of-62 from the floor in his last four games. "My teammates are looking for me and my shot has been pretty good lately. The more games I play, the more comfortable I am with the role I'm playing."
Led by Pargo and Deng, the Bulls held a 59-24 advantage in bench points.
"We take pride in our bench," Pargo said. "We pretty much go at the starters every day, and a lot of times we come out on top."
On the eve of his 20th birthday, Dwight Howard had 17 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Magic, who committed 23 turnovers en route to their season-high fifth straight loss, both season highs.
"Turnovers, that's the biggest thing tonight," Howard said. "We've really got to take care of the ball. That's the one thing we've got to work on."
Magic guard Steve Francis returned after missing three games with chest and shoulder injuries and scored 16 points before fouling out. He managed just five points in the second half and committed six turnovers overall.
"I was tired in spurts but for the most part I could have done more to help my team," Francis said. "To turn the ball over and let them get easy buckets is a way you can't play against a team like that, that scraps the whole game."