Vucevic scores 24 as Magic overwhelm Bulls, 102-89
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Nikola Vucevic scored 24 points, rookie Mario Hezonja added a career-high 21, and the Orlando Magic beat the Chicago Bulls 102-89 on Wednesday night.
Victor Oladipo scored 17 points and Aaron Gordon had 13 points and 15 rebounds as Orlando coasted to an easy win. Elfrid Payton had nine points and 12 assists.
Derrick Rose led Chicago with 16 points, all in the first half. Pau Gasol had 12 points and Doug McDermott was the only other Bulls player in double figures with 11.
Both teams were on the second game of back-to-backs and it looked it. Orlando hit only 40.2 percent, while Chicago shot just 38.4 percent from the field.
The Magic took a 17-point lead into the fourth quarter and were never seriously challenged. Rose and Gasol didn’t play in the final period and the closest the Bulls’ reserves could get to 90-74 with 8:14 left in the game.
The Magic hit five of six shots to start the third quarter, including a 3-pointer by Hezonja that helped Orlando take a 74-54 lead. Payton and Oladipo pushed the pace against the Bulls’ sluggish defense and the quick tempo provided plenty of open shots in the 15- to 18-foot range.
Vucevic, Hezonja and Oladipo made enough of them to keep Orlando comfortably ahead for the entire second half.
The Bulls’ offense also stayed on the perimeter, but without much success. Rose was 0 for 4 in the third quarter and Chicago hit only seven of 24 shots (29.1 percent). The Bulls had only one basket the final three minutes and trailed 84-67 going into the final period.
Oladipo and Hezonja had 12 points apiece in the first half when Orlando led by 15 before settling for a 60-50 halftime advantage. The Magic exploited the Bulls’ perimeter defense, hitting six of 12 3-pointers, most of them uncontested shots.
Rose was nearly a one-man show in the first half. The Bulls point guard weaved his way through the slow-reacting Magic defense to score 16 points and hand out four assists.
Bulls: Aaron Brooks was ejected with 6:31 left in the game after receiving two technicals for arguing. ... F Taj Gibson (hamstring) missed his first game this season. ... G Jimmy Butler (knee) could rejoin the Bulls for practice Friday, but is not expected to play for another 10 to 12 days. ... Chicago has given up 102 or more points in 15 straight games.
Magic: F Evan Fournier missed his third straight game with a sore wrist. ... Elfrid Payton tied his season high with 12 assists. ... Orlando is allowing opponents to shoot 47.8 percent and average 107.1 points in the last 27 games. ... Vucevic made his second 3-pointer this season, just beating the shot clock at the 7:09 mark of the first quarter.