Denton: Magic vs. Bulls Analysis (1/15/14)


Chicago rallied in the first overtime with a clutch shot of its own. Thibodeau drew up a play out of a timeout where Mike Dunleavy rubbed Oladipo off a screen. He then drilled an open 3-pointer with 13.4 seconds left to tie the game at 111-all.

With a chance to win it, the Magic struggled to get into their offense. And when Nelson did finally get off a shot – one that went in – it came well after the horn and was waived off.

Nelson showed off his veteran moxie late in regulation with the Magic needing a basket. Down 101-99, Orlando put the ball in Nelson’s hands, got Joakim Noah switched onto him and the veteran point guard drilled a high-arching jumper that tied it with 11.2 seconds remaining.

``A game like that, it’s fun. It’s fun,’’ said Nelson, whose hamstrings started cramping up late in the night after playing 54 minutes. ``Basketball is something that is obviously our jobs, but if we weren’t playing here we’d be playing somewhere else and competing as hard as we did tonight. I believe in each and every guy in this locker room that when they step on that floor that they’re going to give it their all.’’

The Magic were once again without starters Nikola Vucevic (concussion) and Arron Afflalo (strained foot). Vucevic suffered a head-first fall last Monday in Los Angeles and there is no timetable for his return as he is subject to the NBA’s concussion protocol. Afflalo, out three straight games, was hopeful of playing on Wednesday, but he was held out following a workout on Tuesday.

Chicago is still getting used to life without star point guard Derrick Rose, who made the trip with the Bulls despite being ruled out for the season following a second knee surgery. The Bulls came into Wednesday’s game 3-1 since trading away the contract of Luol Deng.

Wednesday’s home game was Orlando’s first at home following a road trip that covered all or parts of 10 days and saw the Magic go winless in five games. The Magic are back at home on Friday and Sunday when they will face the Charlotte Bobcats and then the Boston Celtics.

Up three at the half, Orlando rode Oladipo’s hot hand in the third quarter and pushed their lead to an-almost-too-good-to-be-true 15 points. Orlando also got a nice lift off the bench from reserve center Kyle O’Quinn, who had 10 points and five three rebounds through the first three quarters of the game.

``One thing about Vic, he’s faster than a hiccup, man,’’ Nelson said. ``Did you see how fast he got to that basket? As soon as you blink, he’s gone. He just takes advantage of the seams and he’s recognizing what’s going on and how teams are playing him. He just has to stay in attack mode.’’ The Bulls turned the game around with the way that they close the third quarter. Chicago outscored Orlando 18-10 over the final 5 minutes of the third period to pull within 80-73 by the start of the fourth.

And the Bulls would take the lead early in the fourth quarter when Joakim Noah capped a 13-6 run with a three-point play. After the Bulls tied the game at 84, the two teams trade the lead eight times over the next 4 minutes.

Oladipo said that while Wednesday’s loss hurt and will undoubtedly be with the team for several days, it would eventually make the Magic better in the long run. There will come a time in the future, Oladipo predicted, when Orlando will be in a similar overtime situation and they will thrive because of what took place on an unforgettable Wednesday night against the Bulls.

``There’s no question, we’ll be better,’’ Oladipo said. ``I’ve just got to be consistent and play with the same mindset and same confidence. I have to believe in myself and my teammates.’’


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