8:05 pm
December 21

Magic @ Bulls

Who will WIN this matchup?

Orlando Magic (14-16)

@ Chicago Bulls (7-25)


Current odds:

Orlando Magic: (-160)

Chicago Bulls: (+140)


 The line for this game is Orlando by 3.5 points.

• Orlando, which earned a 97-91 victory over Chicago in Mexico City last week, won back-to-back games south of the border before coming back to the United States and getting crushed at home 129-90 by the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. “I don’t think it was lack of energy, but we didn’t play with energy,” Magic shooting guard Evan Fournier told reporters. “We just played terrible – offensively and defensively with no awareness and no focus. Not enough for a team that wants to make the playoffs.”

• The Bulls’ offense is missing its leading scorer with Zach LaVine (23.8) sidelined two-to-four weeks due to an ankle injury suffered against the Magic in Mexico City, and they are trying to coax points out of different guards. Kris Dunn took the lead on Wednesday and scored 24 points on 11-of-21 shooting to keep Chicago in a 96-93 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

• Orlando’s loss on Wednesday came without center Nikola Vucevic, who missed his first game of the season following the birth of his son. “He’s doing good,” Magic coach Steve Clifford told reporters of Vucevic. “I think his plan is – as long as (Wednesday) night goes well – to come in and practice (on Thursday) and hopefully go to Chicago and play on Friday.” Rookie Mo Bamba started in Vucevic’s place on Wednesday and managed seven points on 2-of-7 shooting before telling reporters, “I’m learning that this is an every-night league and we’ve got to bring it every night or things like this are going to happen.

• Last season’s leading scorer, power forward Lauri Markkanen, is off to a slow start after missing the first 23 games of 2018-19 and is averaging 14.4 points on 37.8 percent shooting since returning to the lineup. Markkanen attempted a season-low six shots while scoring eight points on Wednesday – matching point guard Ryan Arcidiacono for the fewest attempts among the starting five. Swingman Justin Holiday is in a shooting slump as well and is 6-of-32 from the floor over the last three games.

 Magic SF Jonathon Simmons (ankle) left Wednesday’s game and is day-to-day.

• Bulls F Jabari Parker (illness) missed the last two games and is day-to-day.

• Chicago took all four meetings last season.

StreakSmarter Pick
Orlando Magic