Denton: Magic-Bulls Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
March 4, 2011

ORLANDO – A night after pulling off an almost unthinkable, unimaginable comeback from 24 points back in Miami, there would be no such rally against a Chicago Bulls team that increasingly gives the Orlando Magic more and more fits.

And the 89-81 defeat to the Bulls was the least of the Magic’s worries on Friday night when superstar center Dwight Howard picked up his 16th technical of the season and is now facing an NBA-mandated one-game suspension for Monday’s matchup against Portland.

``It’s very frustrating and there’s only so much that somebody can take when people are grabbing you, holding you and slapping you in the face … sometimes you are going to retaliate,’’ said Howard, who made all eight of his shots, scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Friday’s loss. ``I’ve just got to try to not get so emotional.’’

The Magic’s emotions were spent after pulling off the second-greatest comeback in franchise history Thursday night in Miami, and it showed a night later against a rested Chicago team. The Magic, whose four-game winning streak came to an end, were badly beaten on the boards (50-30) and despite hanging close throughout they could never make a serious charge at the lead.

``I really felt (fatigue) all night, my legs were heavy and I was trying to get myself going, but I didn’t have it,’’ said Jason Richardson, Thursday’s hero who scored 16 points and had four 3-pointers on Friday. ``Not taking anything away from Chicago because they played great, but we just didn’t have it after (Thursday) night.’’

Brandon Bass had 16 points, but grabbed just three rebounds in 32 minutes. Point guard Jameer Nelson scored 14 points and handed out six assists, staying in attack mode throughout the game.

Like in the 99-90 loss in Chicago on Jan. 28, Orlando (40-23) was pounded on the glass throughout by Omer Asik (13 rebounds), Carlos Boozer (nine boards) and Joakim Noah (seven rebounds). The Magic played the Bulls even in almost every phase, but Chicago’s work on the glass helped it get off 13 more shot attempts.

``The game came down to we got our (butts) kicked on the glass, they outrebounded us by 20 and that was the entire game,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``They had 23 second-chance points to our six – ball game over. Everything else was even, but we couldn’t get a rebound.’’

Here’s a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from Friday’s nationally televised game from the Amway Center: