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The Bulls briefly opened a 17-point lead early in the third before three straight Magic 3-pointers pulled them within 62-54.
That came after Chicago built a 10-point lead at halftime.
The Bulls made their early run even though Rose was held scoreless in the second quarter. Kyle Korver picked up the slack with nine points and Boozer added eight, including a jumper at the halftime horn.
"They just play hard," Howard said of the Bulls. "Everybody did what they have to do. Guys came off the bench. They know what they had to do in the game. They didn't stay outside of their boundaries. ... We've got to be the same way."
Rose got off to a strong start with 12 first-quarter points.
The Magic jumped out to a 10-2 lead, prompting a quick Bulls timeout. But Chicago responded with a spurt of its own that included six straight points by Rose to tie it at 17.
Orlando regained its footing, outscoring the Bulls 10-9 the rest of the quarter thanks to six points by Howard, who was 6 for 8 in the period with 14 points and five rebounds.
"We have to understand what our roles are on this team. We have to understand what type of effort it's going to take every night for us to be a good team," Magic guard Chris Duhon said. "And right now we have to decide what type of team we want to be."
With such a tough schedule on tap, Thibodeau said the Bulls won't put too much stock in Friday's outcome or dwell on what's ahead.
"I think if you start looking at all the other stuff that's going on, you become distracted and it takes away from your preparation," he said. "You're seeing that there's a lot of great games out there. ... You just have to keep fighting and find a way to win. That's what it's coming down to."
NOTES: Bulls G Richard Hamilton suited up but did not play with a sore left groin. ... Magic swingman Quentin Richardson was inactive, recovering from a chemical burn on his ankle after a self-treatment mishap in which he iced his sore ankle with Icy Hot and then applied ice to it. Rookie G DeAndre Liggins also didn't dress after having an allergic reaction to shellfish.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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