EditorsNote: 5th graf, delete extraneous word ‘for’, tweak stat; 6th graf, change 32-point to 39-point
Lauri Markkanen stepped up for the Bulls in the absence of their two leading scorers, guiding Chicago to a 90-80 win at home against the Orlando Magic on Friday night.
Markkanen scored a season-high 32 points, one shy of his career best, and made the jump shot that put Orlando away for good. Robin Lopez scored 14 points and Kris Dunn added 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Bulls, who won for just the third time in the past 15 games.
The Bulls were playing without Zach LaVine and Bobby Portis, who are both expected to miss two to four weeks with ankle injuries. LaVine is Chicago’s leading scorer at 23.8 points per game, and Portis is averaging 11.9 points and 8.0 rebounds through nine games this season.
Chicago’s Jabari Parker (15.2 points per game) sat out his fourth consecutive game due to a stomach illness.
Evan Fournier sank five 3-pointers and scored 24 points, and Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 19 rebounds for the Magic. Aaron Gordon added 14 points and 12 rebounds, but Orlando shot just 32.6 percent from the floor.
The Magic have lost consecutive games, having endured a 39-point home loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.
Markkanen drilled three 3-pointers to lead Chicago on a 13-1 run to open the second quarter, and the Bulls took a 32-21 lead. Orlando was forced to play catch-up the rest of the night.
The Bulls led by as much as 15 points in the fourth quarter, but Orlando trimmed the deficit to five with 1:37 to play. Markkanen then made a jumper from the top of the key as the shot clock wound down, and the Magic didn’t score the rest of the game.
Orlando led 20-19 after the first quarter, but after Chicago’s run to start the second, the Magic never got closer than three points.
Orlando and Chicago are two of the lowest-scoring teams in the NBA. The Bulls’ average of 100.9 points per game ranked last in the league through Thursday, and the Magic ranked 26th at 103.5 points per game.
—Field Level Media