The Orlando Magic faltered down the stretch of their 124-104 road loss to Brooklyn on Tuesday in East Group C of the NBA in-season tournament.
They will hope to rebound quickly Wednesday as their four-game trip continues with the first of two straight road games against the Chicago Bulls.
Orlando fell to .500 for the third time this season with the Tuesday defeat. The Magic were outscored 36-18 in the fourth quarter.
“The pressure and intensity was something that got us early on,” Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said, “so it wasn’t necessarily the fourth quarter that got us. It was the first quarter, the way in which we set the tone for the game.”
The Magic trailed by nine after the first period. Overall on the night, 16 Orlando turnovers led to 27 Brooklyn points.
Seven Magic players finished in double figures, with Franz Wagner (21 points) and Paolo Banchero (19) leading the way.
Reserve guard Joe Ingles, who is in his first season with Orlando, contributed a season-best 11 points.
“I’m just trying to be aggressive,” Ingles said. “It is a new team and a new situation for me. Just getting used to it. Getting used to playing with the guys. I think our second unit is just getting comfortable together.”
Chicago has lost five of seven, with the lone victories during that stretch coming at home, where the Bulls will play their next four games.
Chicago trailed the host Milwaukee Bucks by 17 points after one quarter on Monday before rallying to take the lead midway through the third quarter. Ultimately, the Bulls couldn’t overcome cold shooting from two members of their big three, and they fell 118-109.
Though Nikola Vucevic posted 26 points and 12 rebounds, Zach LaVine (20 points) and DeMar DeRozan (11 points) combined to finish 8-for-33 from the field, including 2-for-13 from 3-point range.
“Of course, you want to be shooting well,” DeRozan said. “Right now, we’re not, but we are getting great looks. I’d rather miss them now than down the stretch (of the season). They’re just not falling. We can’t let that get us frustrated.”
Seeing the Magic in the building could boost the Bulls’ slumping stars.
DeRozan is averaging 32.4 points in his past five games against Orlando, while LaVine is averaging 34.7 points over his past 10 vs. the Magic. However, DeRozan reportedly will miss the Wednesday game due to a family matter.
Bulls defensive ace Alex Caruso (left toe strain) missed his second straight game Monday due to injury. Coach Billy Donovan said the team expects Caruso to return to the lineup this week, a development the veteran guard would welcome.
“Like, once you get the season going, it’s just a routine of shootarounds, nap, food, warmup, game, travel, next day. … You know what you’re going to get,” Caruso said. “When I don’t have that, it’s just a bunch of time where I’m not doing anything. It’s just kind of boring.”
Orlando took two of three from the Bulls last season, including both meetings in Chicago.
–Field Level Media
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