The Orlando Magic pulled off one of the best comeback victories you will ever see last night in Miami. The Magic trailed by 24 points in the third quarter, but they went on a 40-9 run and ended up beating the Miami Heat, 99-96. The Magic will look to keep that momentum going against another one of the league’s best teams, the Chicago Bulls, tonight. The Bulls blew a 20-point first half lead on Wednesday night in Atlanta, so they’ll be looking to bounce back from that disappointing loss.
The Bulls are actually one spot ahead of the Magic in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. These two have split the season series thus far. This game has all the makings of a close game from start to finish. ESPN will have coverage of this game Friday night.
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Derrick Rose is probably the leading candidate for the NBA MVP award at this point in the season. Rose has become a much more prolific scorer, and he is developing his jump shot nicely. The strength of his game is clearly still his ability to drive to the basket, but the fact that he can knock down the deep jumper makes the opponent play him a little tighter.
Rose gets to the line frequently and he is converting on those trips to the line. He is now shooting 84 percent from the line for the season, which is 7 percent higher than he shot last year. Rose isn’t the only reason the Bulls are 41-18. Carlos Boozer has been a great acquisition, and he and Joakim Noah form a terrific tandem in the frontcourt. Noah is averaging 11.7 boards per game, while Boozer grabs 9.8 rebounds per game. There aren’t many teams in the league who can match the production that the Bulls get from their frontcourt. Luol Deng is a consistent player that can carry the Bulls from time to time. Tom Thibodeau’s defensive scheme has turned this team into one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Chicago Bulls might be flying under the radar a bit, but they are a real contender this year.
How big was the comeback by the Orlando Magic last night? It was the second biggest comeback in franchise history. Jason Richardson led the way last night with 24 points and he was 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. The Magic cashed in on 16 of their 29 attempts from long distance in last night’s win. It will be up to the Magic to stay motivated on Friday night because this is an important game in the playoff race.
Dwight Howard is playing the best basketball of his career over the last few weeks. Howard has scored 30 points or more in six of his last 10 games, and he has been better than ever on the glass. He is averaging 13.9 rebounds per game over the entire season. Hedo Turkoglu is comfortable in the system and he is making some nice contributions since coming back to Orlando. Gilbert Arenas isn’t completely healthy yet, but he has started to heat up in the last few games as well.
This Orlando team is definitely better than they were at the start of the season. They need to work to improve on the defensive end, where they have been a bit inconsistent. Offensively, the Magic have as many weapons as anyone in the league right now.
Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic Betting Odds and Line Movement
The Magic opened as 2.5-point home favorites, according to NBA odds, but that number has edged back to 2.0. Thus far, the public money has been split on which team to back in this one. The posted total opened at 187.5 points, and has been bet up a point from there..
Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic Betting Trends
The Bulls are 19-7 in their last 26 games as the underdog
The Magic are 7-3 in their last 10 games as the favorite
The ‘under’ is 6-0 in the last 6 meetings between these two teams
NBA Picks: Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic Predictions
I fully expect this to be a great game. The Bulls like to win with defense, while the Magic have the edge when it comes to offensive firepower. I think the Magic may be a bit tired after last night’s huge win, and I think the ‘under’ is the best way to play this game. I think this game goes right down to the wire, and it stays ‘under’ the posted total.
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