Bulls Show Some Magic In Orlando, Win 90-82

It was the Bulls Friday who flashed a little magic in Orlando, losing a 16-point first half lead in the poorest third quarter of the season before rallying down the stretch for a 90-82 victory.

The Bulls moved to 25-51 and broke a seven-game losing streak. Orlando fell to 22-53. The second half proved a stunning tale of two of most gruesome, contrasting quarters that perhaps could be played. The Bulls went from leading 57-44 at halftime to trailing 69-66 after three quarters. Orlando had a 13-0 third quarter run. The Bulls then hit the Magic with a 14-0 fourth quarter run.

The Bulls were led by Lauri Markkanen and Sean Kilpatrick with 13 points each. Cameron Payne had 11 points. Cristiano Felico had a career high 16 rebounds with eight points. Noah Vonleh added eight points and 11 rebounds.

Markkanen and Felicio were back in the lineup and starting. Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Paul Zipser and Antonio Blakeney remained out. Robin Lopez thus went back inactive with the Felicio return. And Markanen proved very active, a driving dunk down the left side over Nikola Vucevic early in the first quarter for a three-point play got the Bulls bench leaping in excitement. Lopez even lay down like he’d passed out due to exhilaration. Despite the hardships and disappointments of the season, the Bulls players didn’t appear to want it to be over. That play gave the Bulls a 12-7 lead and launched a 16-4 run that gave the Bulls a rare and large first quarter lead at 25-11. Payne’s back to back threes in that run had teammates urging him to shoot again as he passed to Justin Holiday for a three. But the good times came to a brief halt as the Bulls hit five straight empty possessions and led 30-24 after one quarter on 52 percent shooting. Orlando began to go inside and to the foul line, drawing within 44-38 in the second quarter before Payne made another three. Markkanen then lined up his defender from the left wing, driving and scoring on a reverse. It looked like party time as Felicio made his first three of his career at the half-time buzzer. Teammates mobbed Felicio as the Bulls left the floor, but the shot was overruled as too late. Still, the Bulls led 57-44 at halftime with 12 from Markkanen and 11 from Payne.

And then they made the Bulls play again. After Felicio had a strong first half with 11 rebounds, he was shaky and unsteady to open the second half with several turnovers and a quick benching in favor of Bobby Portis. But when the dam breaks, it takes more than a quick fix. It would be nine minutes after Valentine’s three to open the third quarter for a 60-44 Bulls lead before the Bulls would make another field goal. Valentine started the third quarter for Holiday. That one by Portis tied the game at 64 with 2:39 left in the third quarter. In between, the Magic hit the Bulls with a 13-0 run with multiple dunks. The Bulls missed 14 straight shots before Portis’ score. The Bulls would go onto one of their poorest quarters of the season after one of their best halves with two of 22 shooting for nine points. The nine points was a season low third quarter total for the Bulls. But then the Bulls came back to life with a Ryan Arcidiacono three kicking off a 10-0 run to give the Bulls the lead back at 76-71 with 9:10 left in the game. The Bulls added on four more points for an 80-71 lead before Orlando scored and with 4:19 left the Bulls were hanging onto an 80-75 lead. Threes by Arcidiacono and Kilpatrick sealed it for the Bulls.