They wrapped up the Southeast Division more than a week ago and guaranteed themselves the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win over the weekend.

Just don't try telling Stan Van Gundy that his Orlando Magic are clicking on all cylinders.

The Magic will try to rebound from what their coach called the team's "worst game of the year by far" when they host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

Orlando (48-29) won its first division title in 11 years last week when the second-place Washington Wizards lost, and scored a convincing 101-86 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers - the East's current No. 4 seed - on Saturday to wrap up the third spot.

But the Magic didn't look sharp at all the next night, getting outscored 26-12 in the first quarter en route to a 100-90 loss to the last-place New York Knicks.

"It was our worst game of the year by far. Both ends of the floor, no energy,'' Van Gundy said after watching his team lose for the fourth time in six games. "We were awful. It was embarrassing.

"We played a game yesterday, so what? It's the NBA. You can't use that as an excuse."

Orlando's biggest problem in New York was its free-throw shooting, which has been an issue throughout the year for a team that is among the league's top five in both field-goal and 3-point percentage. The Magic are among the league's bottom five from the foul line (72.5 percent), and made 17-of-29 (58.6 percent) on Sunday.

Center Dwight Howard was just 3-of-10.

"Leading up to the playoffs, this is a time where everybody has to be ready," said Howard, who had his NBA-leading 66th double-double. "We looked real flat tonight. We can't have nights like this."

Howard's play, at least on the offensive end, has slipped recently. On March 17, the East's starting All-Star center was averaging 21.7 points. But he's scoring just 13.8 per game as Orlando has dropped five of its last eight.

Howard even had a rough time in practice, needing six stitches after getting cut on the mouth in a collision Tuesday, though he isn't expected to miss any time.

The Magic's other area of concern lately has been their 3-point shooting. They make an average of 38.5 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, but have seen that drop to 36.6 in their last six games.

Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis, Orlando's two best shooters, went a combined 2-for-16 from 3-point range against the Knicks.

New York won't be a part of the postseason, and neither will the Bulls (30-47), who were widely expected to challenge for the Central Division title at the start of the season.

Instead, Chicago's season, which has been plagued with inconsistent shooting, has been a huge disappointment. The Bulls have made just 43.2 percent of their shots, which is currently the worst percentage in the NBA since 2004-05.

Chicago was officially eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday with a 95-88 loss at league-worst Miami.

"We need to become a better defensive team,'' said guard Kirk Hinrich. "The teams who usually compete for the NBA championship are almost always one of the best defensive teams in the league.''

One of the few bright spots for Chicago down the stretch has been the play of rookie Joakim Noah, who has averaged 11.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in his last nine games.

The Magic have won both meetings with the Bulls this season. The teams conclude their series Sunday in Chicago.


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