Orlando-Chicago: Carlos Boozer Lifts Rose-Less Bulls Over Magic In 85-59 BlowoutBasketball, Sports — By Allen Levin on March 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm Tweet
Before the game, MVP Derrick Rose stressed just how effective his NBA-leading Chicago Bulls can be without him in the lineup.
“Nothing changes for our team. Even though we’re down some players, our whole mindset is to go out there and do whatever it takes to win,” Rose said.
The Bulls proved him right, improving to 10-4 without their MVP guard, while routing the Orlando Magic 85-59 Monday night at the Amway Center.
Chicago got 24 points and 13 rebounds from Carlos Boozer, 20 points off the bench from backup point guard John Lucas III, while shutting down the Magic’s offense to rout Orlando (29-18) in its fourth consecutive game playing without Rose, who is nursing a sore groin.
Over the past week, the Bulls have now secured victories over Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia- the East’s No. 2, 3 and 4 seeds, respectively- without Rose, to maintain the NBA’s best overall record (38-10). The Bulls also improved their league-best road record to 19-6 with the win.
Chicago has been able to beat the NBA’s top teams without its best player through excellent teamwork, hard-nosed play and solid performances from their bench and role players.
Orlando, on the other hand, could barely get offensive production from their starters, let alone their bench. The Magic’s bench was outscored 34-13, and they only got two players in double figures in the game.
The Magic had their worst offensive showing at home since the 2004 season, and by far their worst performance at home this season. Before tonight’s contest, the Magic’s lowest home point total was 83. Against a pesky Bulls defense, Orlando could only muster 59 points on 24-of-68 shooting (35 percent) from the field, including a woeful four-of-20 from the three-point line.
The Bulls set a record for the fewest points allowed in a regular-season game in franchise history, and that includes the Michael Jordan era.
Quite simply, the Magic could never get any flow on offense in the game, partly due to Chicago’s suffocating defense and partly because of the horrible shooting.
“That’s it, they played harder than us. One through 15, whoever stepped on the floor just played harder than us,” Dwight Howard said.
To put things in perspective, Orlando had only 43 points with 4:30 to go in the third quarter. The Magic posted a mere 26 points in the second half, and only 11 points in the final quarter.
“Our offense was pathetic. And that’s something that I have got to take a look at because we’ve got better players than that. It’s really two games in a row now where we’ve been very bad offensively,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Some of the turnover stuff, guys have got to take the responsibility on their own. But, I’ve got to take responsibility for getting us better shots than we’re getting right now.”
With the Magic trailing by just 12 entering the fourth quarter, the Bulls were able to pull away with a dominant defensive display, outscoring Orlando 25-11 to turn the game into a blowout.
With 7:30 to go in regulation, Kyle Korver nailed a three-pointer, followed by a Joakim Noah And-1 bucket that gave the Bulls a 20-point advantage and ultimately the knockout punch. The Magic weren’t able to recover, and the rout only got worse from there.
The Magic shot 30 percent in the final quarter, allowed the Bulls to shoot 53 percent from the field, while turning the ball over five times. Orlando’s 18 total miscues in the contest yielded 25 Bulls points.
The Magic were led by Howard’s double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds, to go along with three blocks. Ryan Anderson was the only other Orlando player in double figures with 10 points and five boards.
While Howard shot eight-of-12 from the field, almost every other Magic player contributed to Orlando’s futility Monday night. The other starters combined for 12-of-37 shooting from the field in a largely lackluster offensive performance.
“We’re fresh so we had an advantage there and they missed some shots that they normally make too, but I thought overall our defense was very good, that we made the effort to challenge shots,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And then offensively, when we kept the ball moving and made quick decisions, I thought we were able to get decent shots.”
Orlando wasn’t very good on defense either, allowing 44 percent shooting from the floor in the game. Boozer’s 24 points came on an impressive 12-of-18 mark, while Lucas shot eight-for-13, including four-of-seven from beyond the arc. Luol Deng added 14 points for the Bulls.
The Magic were outplayed in almost every facet of the game as Chicago held the edge in rebounding, 48-38; they forced 18 Orlando turnovers and held the edge in fast-break points, 11-5.
Another factor in the sloppy offense for Orlando was the fact that Chicago’s defense was able to clog the passing lanes, contributing to just nine Magic assists in the game.
The Magic, who averaged 20.4 assists per game heading into the Bulls matchup, are 21-4 when they have more assists than their opponent, which wasn’t able to happen with the Bulls stingy defense.
Orlando shot under 40 percent for a second-consecutive night after shooting 39 percent in Sunday night’s loss to the Miami Heat.
“The hard part to understand is that we went to Miami, San Antonio back-t0-back and played very well offensively. And now, we come to these two games (Miami and Chicago), and we look like a totally different basketball team,” Van Gundy said.
Orlando, who was able to beat the Bulls in Chicago back in January with Rose in the lineup, couldn’t get it done on its home floor with Rose watching from the bench.
“See, we went out to Chicago and we beat them with Derrick Rose. Tonight, you saw a team out there playing without their star player, and did what they needed to do to win. And they beat us,” Glen Davis said. “They beat us with no problem. I wish they would have had Derrick Rose in a sense.”
The Magic, who have dropped three of their last four games, will look to rebound Wednesday night when they host the Phoenix Suns at 7 p.m.