April 10, 2011 by staff
Derrick Rose, Derrick Rose had 39 points and five assists and Luol Deng added points to help the Bulls hold off the Orlando Magic -99 on Sunday.
Jameer Nelson Orlando appeared to tie the game with a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but an official review confirmed an initial call of no goal. Ryan Anderson led the Magic to a career-high points, Jason Richardson added and Nelson had 17.
Chicago won its seventh in a row and now 19 in 21 games. The Bulls also kept alive their hopes of finishing with the best record in the NBA that would give them home court advantage in the playoffs.
The loss drops his record Magic to -3 without center Dwight Howard. He sat on Sunday in his second suspension of the season after picking up his Th technical foul.
A preview of the possible second round playoffs was marred not only by the absence of Howard, but also the sixth JJ Redick Magic Man and reserve Quentin Richardson. Redick missed his 15th straight game with a lower abdominal strain. Richardson was the first of a two-game suspension for shoving Charlotte Gerald Henderson in the face in last week’s victory over the Bobcats.
However, due to the heat taken out, the magic does not seem to miss a beat without them.
Chicago led just 80-77 entering the fourth quarter, after struggling for several races in Orlando in the third.
The Magic forced six draws in the first eight minutes of the final period before Brandon Bass free throw and basket by Jason Richardson gave the Magic a -91 lead with 2:46 to play.
A pair of free throws by Rose cut the lead to 94-93, and his mate a Magic turnover gave Chicago the lead again, 95-94 with 2 minutes left.
Chicago led -96 when Rose lost the ball out of bounds, giving back to Orlando with .7 seconds remaining. The magic came back to the Bulls in a fight loose ball following a missed shot, and Taj Gibson was fouled with 14.2 seconds left. He hit of 2 in the line, but Chicago was able to chase the rebound.
The ball found its way into the hands of Rose, and hit two free throws to make it 100-96. Richardson finally got a to go with 2.7 seconds left, but Boozer beaten and two free throws to push the lead back to 102-99 with 2 seconds left and set up Nelson’s last attempt.
A free throw by Gibson with :01 to play in the second quarter gave Chicago its biggest lead of the half, 44-34. However, the Magic responded with a barrage of 15-6 in the final: 44, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to Nelson, I walk by just one point at -49 entering the third quarter.
Notes: Chicago scored 10 of his first 11 field goal attempts and shot 70 percent in the first quarter. … With the retirement of Howard, Anderson made his 14th of the season. … Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said that while Miami Heat president Pat Riley Executive get the honors of the year, the Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and Gar Forman CEO must win. “They made many changes that were below Miami in the standings,” said Van Gundy. “Now they are over Miami in the standings, so how could you not with these guys?”
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