Wednesday, January 15, 2014
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Preview: Bulls at Magic

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[January 15, 2014]  After seeing their five-game winning streak end, the Chicago Bulls look to move forward again when they pay a visit to the struggling Orlando Magic on Wednesday. The Bulls have won eight of 11 overall and were unbeaten in three since the trade of leading scorer Luol Deng before losing to Washington 102-88 at home Monday. Chicago is second in the league in average points allowed and will face an injury-depleted Orlando squad that has dropped eight straight overall after a 0-5 road trip.

The Magic will likely be without leading rebounder Nikola Vucevic (concussion) and top scorer Arron Afflalo is questionable after missing the last two games with a strained right foot. The Bulls won't feel sorry for Orlando with Derrick Rose out for the season with a knee injury, but still have six players averaging in double figures scoring. The Magic edged Chicago 83-82 on Dec. 16 to end a five-game losing streak against the Bulls.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN Florida (Orlando)

ABOUT THE BULLS (17-19): Guard Kirk Hinrich is one of the most important players on the team despite not being among the top scorers as the Bulls went only 1-4 when he was out injured, including the Orlando loss. Hinrich averages 4.9 assists while Carlos Boozer leads the team in scoring (14.9) and Joakim Noah is one of fewer than 10 players in the league averaging a double-double (11.1 points, 10.6 rebounds). Jimmy Butler scored 12 versus Washington after missing one game with a sore thigh.


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ABOUT THE MAGIC (10-28): Glen Davis has picked up some of the scoring slack with Afflalo out, averaging 19.5 points the last two games, and scored in double figures 14 of his last 15 contests. Rookie Victor Oladipo has also raised his game after a rough stretch, scoring 15.2 per game in his last six outings, while Tobias Harris is averaging 16 points over the last three. Veteran guard Jameer Nelson fought through a sore index finger to match his season high with 21 points in the 107-88 loss at Dallas on Monday.

BUZZER-BEATERS

  1. Orlando is 7-11 at home after a 3-0 start and Chicago is 6-11 on the road with three straight wins.

  2. Boozer has 11 double-doubles and is averaging 16.7 points and 10 rebounds the last three contests.

  3. Davis expects to play his 400th career game and Nelson has played 618 for the Magic, three behind Dwight Howard for second in franchise history.

PREDICTION: Magic 99, Bulls 92

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