Former Orlando star Nikola Vucevic leads Bulls against Magic

Former Orlando star Nikola Vucevic leads Bulls against Magic

Two Eastern Conference teams, linked by a high-profile trade that took place eight months ago, meet for the first time this season on Friday when the Orlando Magic host the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls have split in their last 12 games after starting 6-1. That included a 118-113 loss on Wednesday in Houston as the host Rockets recovered in the second half to end their 15-game losing streak.

After missing seven games in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, former Orlando star Nikola Vucevich returned to the Chicago squad on Wednesday and contributed 14 points and 13 rebounds. Vucevich went 6-for-16 from the field, made a pair of 3-pointers, and made four assists before making a mistake with 2:46 left.

Houston edged Chicago 35-18 in the third quarter to wipe out a nine-point deficit in the first half, and the Bulls will approach 102-101 in the latter period. Zach Lavigne scored a game-high 28 points while Alex Caruso held 15 points off the bench after missing Chicago’s previous game against Indiana due to a left wrist injury.

“We have to be better, really on both ends of the earth,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said after Houston’s loss. “We had 17 assists in the first half, and we were moving around and sharing the ball. I think you can see when he (Vucevic) is there, it makes the game easier, and then we played like that in the fourth quarter. But we just came (in the third quarter) and kind of messed around. in the game”.

Orlando replaced the Vucevic team with Chicago in March as part of a definitive business deal that brought quarterback Wendell Carter Jr. And two first-round picks to Magic. The All-Star played twice nine seasons in Orlando, averaging 17.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, and is one of three players (Dwight Howard and Nick Anderson) to reach 10,000 points with the franchise.

The Magic used a selection obtained by trade to pick Michigan’s Franz Wagner for eighth overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. Wagner has appeared in all 19 of Orlando’s games this season, averaging 12.6 points and 4.1 rebounds.

Carter Jr. scored 14 points and 11 rebounds during Orlando’s 106-99 home loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. Former Duke Blue Devils have earned eight doubles this season as magic has rebuilt their roster under new coach Jamal Mosley.

“There were so many great things to take advantage of this match, as much as this loss hurts,” magic rookie Jalen Suggs said after the match on Wednesday. “I really wanted to get this person to go to Thanksgiving and kind of build it up on Friday, but there are so many great things we take away from today. Things don’t change overnight, so keep trying to build on the shows and games.”

The Magic, who will wear the new orange Nike NBA City Edition uniform for the second consecutive game, have lost four in a row and seven of their last eight. Orlando had a 74-67 lead against Charlotte, but the Hornets controlled the match with a 29-10 lead that served as a bridge between the third and fourth quarters.

Three players from the Orlando seniors—Mo Bamba, Moretz Wagner, and Carter Jr.—combed together for eight three-pointers, scoring 45 points and 27 rebounds against Charlotte. Bamba equaled his highest level of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds to make his double, while Moritz Wagner reached 1,000 points during his career by scoring 13 points off the bench.

Orlando scored six double-digit players against the Hornets, including Suggs with 17 and Franz Wagner with 16 points. Gary Harris also scored 13 points, and shot 3 for 8 from outside the arc, in 35 minutes of the season.

Lead scorer Cole Anthony was named to the question list on Friday after he missed his last three games in Orlando with a right ankle sprain.

–Field Media Level

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