NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 15th (All times Eastern)
Chicago Bulls (43-37) at Orlando Magic (20-60), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls are still jockeying for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference, but haven't given themselves a chance to improve their status as of late.
The Bulls have lost two straight and four of five games, and will try to move up the East standings Monday night against the Orlando Magic.
Chicago is one game behind Atlanta for the fifth spot and will close out a three-game road trip, which continued Sunday in a 105-93 loss at Miami. The Bulls, who ended the Heat's 27-game winning streak in the Windy City last month, shot poorly at 35.4 percent, but did have six players score in double digits.
Luol Deng led the way with 19 points and Carlos Boozer finished with 16 and a game-high 20 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson registered 14 points apiece, Jimmy Butler netted 13 and Daequan Cook had 10 for a Bulls team that saw Miami go to the foul line 41 times, making 27.
"The thing is it was a winnable game for us," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said after a third straight road loss. "They're a great team; you give them credit. I think that they got a lot of calls that went their way. That was to be expected. It's still a winnable game down the stretch. We had a couple tough plays where we had poor body positioning. But even in the fourth quarter we're right there. We got to come up with a way to get stops."
The Bulls have to find a way to stop losing with the playoffs on the horizon.
After visiting Orlando, the Bulls, who are 20-20 as the guest and just 3-10 in the past 13 road tilts, will close out the regular season Wednesday versus Washington at the United Center.
The Magic lost six of their last seven, highlighted by a 120-88 drubbing Saturday night at the hands of the Boston Celtics.
Tobias Harris led the way for the Magic with 22 points. Nikola Vucevic posted yet another double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Mo Harkless, Doron Lamb and E'Twaun Moore also scored in double digits.
But the sting of this lopsided defeat lingered.
"It's very disappointing to come out there and play a great team like the Celtics and not live up to the opportunity," Harris said. "We have to be able to take their first punch and keep playing. We have to take notes from a (Boston) team like that that comes out and imposes their will and lets us know that we're not going to run in here and have it easy.
"They gave us the first punch, they kept going with it and we didn't respond. We have to learn from this. When we get to where we need to be we have to do this to other teams."
Orlando has won two of its last three at home.
The Bulls have won four straight against the Magic, including all three this season. Chicago has taken five in a row in Orlando. Chicago last swept the Magic in a season series back in 2004-05 (3-0).
04/15 10:25:22 ET