Skip to content

Orlando tries to send message to Howard: Look, we can beat Bulls

Mar 9, 2012, 12:19 AM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

Everything Orlando does for the next 6 days is colored by Dwight Howard trade talk.

That includes their 99-94 win over Chicago Thursday night — the Magic are trying to convince Howard that they can be contenders with him in tow if they just make a couple tweaks. Beating the actual contenders from Chicago and snapping their eight-game win streak — even if the Bulls were without Richard Hamilton (shoulder injury) and playing their fourth game in five nights — can be taken as a sign if you want it. Like finding a burn mark on a pancake that vaguely looks like the Virgin Mary can be a sign if you really are desperate for it to be.

I doubt Howard sees it that way. The fact is this game will have little if any impact on Howard, but it may make the Magic lean even more to the idea that they are not going to move Howard before the deadline.

As for the game itself, these are the kinds of outings that will keep Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau up at night but are really just lockout induced — this was the fourth game in five nights for Chicago, who flew in after beating Milwaukee on Thursday. They looked like a team with tired legs.

Orlando started out hot, putting up 37 points on the Bulls in the first quarter and shooting 67 percent well into the second quarter. The Magic hit 7 of 13 in the first half — it is very difficult for any team to defend them when they are knocking down threes. Orlando finished 11-26 (42.3 percent) from three for the game.

Especially when Howard is playing well. And he was. He overpowered the Bulls inside and had 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting for the game.

But the Bulls chipped away at that lead. They got close to Orlando a few times but struggled to get over the hump — a couple turnovers and a couple threes by Jason Richardson sparked a 13-4 run by the Magic to end the third quarter and keep the Magic up by 8 (79-71).

But in the fourth the Bulls finally got there. A Carlos Boozer elbow jumper gave Chicago a 91-89 lead with 2:50 left. But they couldn’t hold it — The Bulls shot 2-for-10 as a team in the final five minutes with Kyle Korver going 0-5 and Derrick Rose going 0-3. (At one point in the fourth quarter they were 0-8 on shots to tie the game or take the lead.) Chalk that up to tired legs on a tough stretch.

The momentum seemed to turn in the fourth when Jameer Nelson threw an impressive ally-oop to Howard. Next trip down for the Magic Rose defended a Nelson drive well but in a scramble for the loose ball Nelson gets it and kicks to a wide-open Ryan Anderson for three. That was pretty much it.

Jason Richardson had 18 for the Magic, Hedo Turkoglu had 13. Carlos Boozer had 26 for Chicago (and shot 2-of-3 in the final five minutes, the one Bull to hit shots) and Rose had 17.

Orlando can try to convince themselves this means something big if they want. It doesn’t. But if they convince themselves it does it can be more fuel on their fire not to trade Howard. It’s hard to view this game through any other lens.

Latest Posts
  1. Warriors don’t live by 3, die by 3. They live by defense, live by defense

    May 24, 2015, 12:57 AM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Three Getty Images

    There’s seemingly no solving Golden State’s dominant defense

  2. Stephen Curry drops 40, Warriors rout Rockets by 35 to take 3-0 series lead

    May 24, 2015, 12:07 AM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Three Getty Images

    Houston has played well and valiantly this postseason, but the Warriors are simply better.

  3. Raptors’ Terrence Ross undergoes ankle surgery

    May 23, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors vs Chicago Bulls Getty Images

    Ross, and the Raptors, had a disappointing season.

  4. Legendary Harlem Globetrotter dribbler, Hall of Famer Marques Haynes passes away at 89

    May 23, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    HAYNES AP

    He certainly is one of the greatest ball handlers of all time.

  5. Hawks Kyle Korver out for remainder of playoffs with high ankle sprain

    May 23, 2015, 3:16 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Two Getty Images

    I’d say this puts the Hawks in a difficult spot, but they already were in one.

  6. Report: Scott Skiles in lead to become next Orlando coach

    May 23, 2015, 12:08 PM EDT

    150523_skiles Getty Images

    The popular former Magic player would sell well to the fan base.

  7. Hawks’ Kyle Korver leaves Game 2 with ankle sprain, does not return (VIDEO)

    May 23, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Two Getty Images

    Atlanta is already down 2-0 to Cleveland in the series, and if Korver misses any time, the Hawks are finished.

  8. Report: Jeff Van Gundy candidate for Pelicans’ coaching job

    May 23, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Game One Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers - Eastern Conference Finals Game One Getty Images

    He would bring a defensive mindset that he team could use.

  9. Cavs’ improved defense deserves credit for commanding 2-0 Eastern Conference Finals lead

    May 23, 2015, 12:25 AM EDT

    Timofey Mozgov Timofey Mozgov

    Cleveland shut down Atlanta’s offense in a dominant Game 2 performance.

  10. No Kyrie Irving, no problem: Cavaliers cruise to blowout Game 2 win over Hawks

    May 22, 2015, 11:16 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    LeBron was great, and that was enough against a Hawks team that keeps losing guys due to injury.

  11. James Harden was ‘kicking chairs’ after Rockets’ Game 2 loss to Warriors

    May 22, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT

    Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Two Getty Images

    There’s also video of Harden doing some damage in the tunnel on the way to the locker room.

  12. Pero Antic commits flagrant foul on LeBron James (VIDEO)

    May 22, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game One Getty Images

    Ruled a flagrant, which was probably the correct call under the circumstances.

  13. Lakers not planning on trading the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft

    May 22, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    Mitch Kupchak AP

    GM Mitch Kupchak: “It looks as though we’ll use our pick this year.”

  14. Kyrie Irving out for Game 2 vs. Hawks

    May 22, 2015, 7:38 PM EDT

    Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Irving is dealing with a knee injury.

  15. Kobe Bryant tries to explain Stephen Curry with a riddle

    May 22, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Explaining Stephen Curry’s game is just not that easy.

Featured video

Will Klay Thompson get a little help on James Harden?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Irving (6161)
  2. K. Love (5347)
  3. D. Howard (4990)
  4. P. Beverley (4297)
  5. S. Curry (4164)
  1. D. Carroll (3846)
  2. L. James (3824)
  3. M. Speights (3559)
  4. K. Bryant (3527)
  5. K. Durant (3515)