NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 14th (All times Eastern)
Orlando Magic (23-57) at Chicago Bulls (47-33), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls are still battling it out for the third seed in the Eastern Conference and will resume the fight Monday night when they host the Orlando Magic at the United Center.
The Bulls and Toronto Raptors are knotted in third with two games remaining. Chicago hosts the Magic, then visits the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night. Toronto welcomes the lowly Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, then hits Madison Square Garden Wednesday night to face the New York Knicks.
The Raptors own the tiebreaker advantage over the Bulls by virtue of winning the Atlantic Division.
The Bulls had a seven-game winning streak come to a halt in Madison Square Garden Sunday. The Knicks bested Chicago, 100-89, and now the chore is much tougher for the Bulls, who have to win out and hope the Raptors lose out, despite playing the team with the worst record in the NBA on Monday.
"We let a big game slip tonight. It was probably the biggest game of the season," Chicago All-Star center Joakim Noah said.
Jimmy Butler paced Chicago with 17 points, while Noah nearly registered another triple-double. Noah finished with 13 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists in the setback.
Mike Dunleavy (13), Taj Gibson (13), D.J. Augustin (12) and Kirk Hinrich (11) rounded out the double-figures for the Bulls, who were done in by a second quarter that went New York's way, 26-17.
The Magic dropped their second straight on Sunday with a 97-88 loss to the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.
Tobias Harris totaled 18 points and seven rebounds and Victor Oladipo scored 14 for the Magic, who have lost five of seven. Andrew Nicholson had 12 points and seven rebounds and Kyle O'Quinn and Maurice Harkless scored 10 points apiece in defeat.
"They were shooting the ball really well and we just didn't adjust and stop them," Harris said.
The Magic are an NBA-worst 4-36 away from home and that clinched the worst road mark in franchise history. The inaugural 1989-90 team won six games and Orlando has only one victory as the visitor since the calendar turned to 2014 and that came against the pitiful Philadelphia 76ers. Orlando has dropped nine in a row on the road.
"For us, right now is about trying to get better every day and we'll get to the point where we'll win on the road and win more games," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We're in that period of trying to get there and we'll get there."
The Magic and Bulls have split two meetings this season with the road team prevailing each time. Chicago is 10-2 in its last 12 against Orlando, which has won three of its last five in the Windy City.
04/14 10:29:40 ET