Another Stifling Defensive Effort Leads to Magic Win

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Paolo Banchero posted 22 points, Franz Wagner scored 18, and Markelle Fultz finished one assist shy of a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, as the Orlando Magic, behind another strong defensive effort, took down the host Chicago Bulls 100-91 on Monday night. 

Interesting Stat

The Bulls missed their first 16 3-point attempts and for the game went 3-for-21. It was just the fourth time this season that a team made three or fewer threes with at least 20 attempts.  

Clutch Moments

After the Bulls pulled within five with three minutes and change left, the Magic scored seven of the game’s next nine points. Wendell Carter Jr. converted on an AND-1; Fultz scored at the basket; and Banchero buried a pair of free throws in that stretch. Banchero also sealed the win with a mid-range jumper with 1:02 remaining. 

Interesting Fact

The Magic have now held their opponent to under 100 points seven times this season. This was the second time they did it on the road. The other was in Boston on Dec. 18. 

Injury Report

Cole Anthony (right wrist soreness) was out for the Magic. R.J. Hampton was not with the team. Alex Caruso (foot), Lonzo Ball (left knee surgery), Javonte Green (right knee surgery), Malcolm Hill (G League – Two-Way), Carlik Jones (G League – Two-Way), and Marko Simonovic (G League – On Assignment) were unavailable for the Bulls. 

In the News 

A day after waiving both Terrence Ross and Patrick Beverley, the Magic signed free agent center Goga Bitadze. A native of Georgia, the country, Bitadze appeared in 170 games across 3 ½ seasons with the Indiana Pacers and averaged 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds. The Pacers waived him late last week. Ross played five full seasons with the Magic as well as parts of two other seasons, appearing in 349 games and averaging 12.7 points. Beverley never reported to the team after the Magic acquired him as part of a four-team trade that sent Mo Bamba to the L.A. Lakers. Orlando also received a 2024 second-round draft pick and cash considerations in that deal. 

Quote of the Day

“For his years here – obviously only coaching him basically a year-and-a-half but coaching against him for probably longer – he’s just always been a true pro – his voice in the locker room (and) his actions in how he worked. He always kept the locker room light, but he was and is a great example for some of these young guys on how to approach the game. He worked every day. He loved to practice. And the one thing about T is just that he loves to hoop. That’s the biggest thing you always remember about him being part of this group.” – Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley on Ross

This Day in History

On Feb. 13, 2008, Dwight Howard recorded 23 points and 24 rebounds, Rashard Lewis scored 25 points, and Hedo Turkoglu and Brian Cook each had 18 points, as the Magic defeated the Denver Nuggets at the old Amway Arena. Carmelo Anthony led Denver with 32 points, Allen Iverson scored 21. 

Rivals Report

It’s hard to believe that a team with Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic can rank 24th in offense, but that’s the position they are in. Their defense is what’s keeping them in the playoff mix, which was what prevented them from getting past the first round of the playoffs last year. What’s really hurt them all year is not having Ball, a good orchestrator and perimeter shooter at the point guard position. There’s been rumors that perhaps the Bulls will target Russell Westbrook if he gets bought out of his contract by the Jazz. They just need someone who can help manage the offense.  

Up Next

The Magic’s final game before the All-Star break will take place Tuesday in Toronto against the Raptors at 7:30 p.m. This will be the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this year, with the Magic currently holding a 2-1 season series lead. Toronto won in a rout on Dec. 3, getting 32 points from OG Anunoby and 26 from Pascal Siakam. The Magic won the next two a week later with the Raptors in Orlando for back-to-back games. Franz Wagner led the Magic in scoring in both those games, finishing with a season-high 34 in the first one and 23 in the second. Those two victories came during a stretch in December when the Magic won eight out of nine games.