Bulls fall 98-91 as Offense Sputters in the Second Half

The Chicago Bulls only managed 14 points in the fourth quarter. 

The Bulls fell Wednesday night to the Magic 98-91. Elfrid Payton of the Magic had a triple double, 22 points , 14 assists , 14 rebounds, as the Bulls had no answer for the young guard. Jimmy Butler finished with 21 points but was 0-4 from the field in the 4th quarter.

It was a tale of two halves, something the Bulls have consistently done all season. In the first half, the Bulls moved the ball well and got good looks at the basket.  They take care of the ball and get out in transition. Then the whole approach changes after coming out of the tunnel for the second half. The Bulls have short possessions, too many turnovers, and leaning too much on Jimmy Butler to make shots.

Wednesday night’s game was one of the worst losses of the season. The Orlando Magic are not a good basketball team. Their starters are an average group with no big role players off their bench. The Bulls have the better roster but  that is not saying much. The Magic also came into the game 3-7 in their last 10 games. An embarrassing loss for the Bulls considering the success they have against some of the top teams in the NBA this season.

There is no way to explain the Bulls being undefeated vs the Cavaliers this season but not beating the Magic. It shows a lot about the team’s effort and blame goes to the head coach as well.

Bad basketball was played Wednesday night. It did not look like a Bulls team fighting for their playoff lives. The Bulls are barely holding onto the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. It’s now or never for Hoiberg’s crew or the Bulls will miss the playoffs for the second straight season.

The Magic outscored the Bulls 55-38 in the second half. There was very little offensive movement and too much standing around on offense. Standing around leads to turnovers and the Bulls finished with 18. The Bulls were shooting themselves in the foot. The Magic are not a good defensive team giving up 105.7 opponents points per game. So for the Bulls to only score 14 points in the 4th quarter let alone 91 for the entire game made the Magic looked better than they really are.

Paul Ziper started for the injured Wade and scored off one three pointer. Bobby Portis was 4-6 from the field and finished with 8 points and 3 rebounds. His percentage was high but the Bulls needed more from their starting power forward. Jerian Grant came out of the shadows in the 4th quarter, scoring 7 of the Bulls 14 points. His efforts were not enough though as no one else could get in a rhythm.

But the stat of the game was the offensive rebounds. The Magic finished with 15 to the Bulls 9. Especially in the final minutes of the 4th quarter, the Magic wanted it more and the Bulls did not box out. Carelessness was at an all time high down the stretch leading to another bad loss.

Overall, the problem is that Bulls fans are more worried about sub .500 teams than teams over .500. It’s unacceptable to show up for the big stage and get a statement win but then give away the game to the 26th ranked team in the NBA.

The Bulls host the Houston Rockets on Friday at the United Center. The Rockets, led by James Harden who is averaging 29ppg, are third in the Western Conference. Can we pencil in a Bulls win? History says yes. But with the way the Bulls are playing in their last three games, it’s hard to see the Bulls carry some of their TNT streak to local television.

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