The Chicago Bulls traveled to Orlando to face off against high-flier Aaron Gordon and the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night, winning their second straight game 100-92.
Shortly before tipoff, Jerian Grant was given the starting job while Michael Carter-Williams was put on the back-burner in favor of the youngster from Notre Dame, with Rajon Rondo leading the 2nd unit. Carter-Williams expressed his confusion to the media about being taken out of the rotation, however Hoiberg has been experimenting with the roster lately, desperately looking for something that will help this team win.
Jerian Grant was a -11 in 20 minutes of action, turning the ball over 3 times while not registering a single assist. Grant took 4 shots (7 points), which were all from the 3 point line. As Hoiberg continues to look for an option at guard, Jerian Grant did do well in his new role. Rajon Rondo, who thought MCW being benched meant he was out of the rotation, played 15 minutes off of the bench while scoring 4 points and dishing out 3 assists. Rookie Denzel Valentine was a DNP-CD even with Michael Carter-Williams glued to the bench.
As a team, the Bull started off very slow and sloppy, finding themselves down 22-20 at the end of one, off of a bad turnover from Nikola Mirotic. The Bulls regrouped, and outscored the Magic by 5 points in the second quarter as Doug McDermott scored 10 of his 12 in this frame. McDermott connected on 4 three-pointers in 17 minutes, after struggling to score from deep as of late. Mirotic registered just 4 points in 19 minutes, continue his season long slump.
Cristiano Felicio, who is a Restricted Free Agent following this season, had his 3rd Double-Double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes. The Bulls second unit outscored the Magic bench 37-20 with McDermott and Felicio combing for 24. The other Nikola (Vucevic) scored 20 points while shooting 50% percent from the field, while shot blocker Serge Ibaka scored 16 points, grabbed 8 rebounds an swatted 2 shots away.
It was the Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade show in the second half- The Duo traded shots in Iso situations possession after possession. Wade, who started the game 0-0f-5 from the floor, finished with 21 points, connecting from his only there-point attempt. Wade also came away 7 steals on the defensive end. while Butler shot 50% from the field, scoring 20 points and adding 8 abounds with 4 assists. Fred Hoiberg elected to go with no Point Guard late in this one, allowing both Wade and Butler to run the team spacing the floor for the shooters on the outside.
Magic Point Guard, Elfrid Payton, had a change to bring the deficit to just 4 with under a minute to play, however he missed both free throws. Butler then followed with a layup plus a foul to seal the game.
With this win, the Bulls are back to .500 at 23-23. Chicago now sits at the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference, with a full game over the Central Division Milwaukee Bucks. The Bulls now travel back home for the second night of a back-to-back, in which 35 year old Dwyane Wade will play in, to square off against the 4 seed Atlanta Hawks.