Magic Rally in Fourth Quarter to Stun Bulls
Orlando 97, Chicago 93
CHICAGO, March 28 (Ticker) -- The Orlando Magic are doing quite a job of muddling the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 15 points and made a pair of clutch jumpers in the final two minutes as the Magic rallied in the fourth quarter for a 97-93 victory over the Chicago Bulls, their fourth straight triumph.
"That's how we step up, with our defense first," Turkoglu said. "Then we tried to attack them on offense by really sharing the ball. This is a big win for us and it's always nice to win on the road."
Four days after dealing the Philadelphia 76ers an unexpected home loss, the Magic did the same to the Bulls (31-40), who absorbed a stunning loss and fell three games in the loss column out of the final playoff spot in the East.
"This is disapointing," Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich said. "We have to win if we are going to make the playoffs. Games like this just put more pressure on us later on."
Chicago led for virtually all of the first three quarters and held an 84-73 advantage when Andres Nocioni scored with 11:07 to play. Nocioni had a career-high 26 points and 10 rebounds but left without speaking to reporters.
"He was the only one attacking the basket," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "I thought Jameer Nelson just manhandled us and the only chance we had was when he wasn't in there, we were fortunate to have a lead going into the fourth quarter."
The Bulls did not score again from the field until the final minute as the Magic put together a 17-2 run fueled by six points from Darko Milicic. A jumper by Turkoglu at the 1:53 mark gave Orlando an 87-86 lead.
Dooling followed with a 3-pointer before Ben Gordon finally ended Chicago's drought with a shot from the arc that made it 90-89 with 51 seconds to go. Turkoglu answered with a jumper with 32 seconds left.
"Making the big shots is what I do for a living and what they pay me for," Turkoglu said. "When Jameer penetrated, the guard would go help on him and Jameer would find me. I hit a couple of big shots, but Keyon hit the biggest one."
Chicago's Luol Deng missed a 3-pointer, and the Magic made 5-of-6 free throws to seal the win.
"I made some free throws down the stretch," Nelson said. "However I missed some earlier and I had to redeem myself. We are not through yet, we are only five back with 11 to go."
Carlos Arroyo scored 13 points and fellow reserve Milicic added 12, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Magic, who allowed just 36 points in the second half.
"Give a lot of credit to Darko, Carlos and Keyon, " Nelson said. "They really turned up the intensity when they were out there."
Orlando (28-43) has won two in a row on the road following a 16-game road losing streak and isn't counting itself out of the playoff race. The Magic are five games back - six in the loss column - with 11 to play.
"I told the team the season is not over until after game 82," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "The eighth (playoff) spot to me is still anybody's and still up for grabs. Chicago doesn't think they are out of it, and we don't think we are out of it, either. We are just going to continue to play hard."
"We are just going to try and go as far as we can," Turkoglu said. "Philly is dropping, so if we can get some wins, we can make a run here at the end."
Hinrich had 14 points, 12 assists and seven steals and Deng also scored 14 points for the Bulls, who had won their last five meetings with the Magic. Chicago had a two-game winning streak snapped.
"There are times when we tighten up and put the weight of the world on our shoulders," Bulls guard Chris Duhon said. "We don't make smart plays or understand the game situation. It's just the little things that didn't happen last year."