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16-24 FG | 1-5 FT | 11 REB | 4 AST | 33 PTS | -18
There’s not much more to say about Vucevic that hasn’t already been covered in my media log. It was obvious from the opening tip that the Magic were targeting Gasol defensively, force-feeding the ball to Vucevic in the post and on the perimeter. And it worked, as Vucevic’s 16 made field goals were a new career-high for him.
11-17 FG | 8-10 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 33 PTS | +8
When Oladipo scored a career-high 35 points against the Bulls last season, the one thing that stood out the most was how Jimmy Butler looked completely overwhelmed trying to defend Oladipo off the dribble. It was the same story in Monday night’s game, particularly in crunch time. Butler struggled to prevent Oladipo from attacking the rim at will.
5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 10 PTS | +8
From start to finish, Orlando played with pace and Payton was a big reason for that. He got into the Magic’s sets quickly on offense and he pushed the ball up the floor at every opportunity — for Magic fans, it had to be refreshing to see. Orlando looked like a different team offensively than the one that struggled to score against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
2-3 FG | 4-5 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 9 PTS | -1
Whenever Payton rested, all Ridnour had to do was maintain the same tempo on offense. For the most part, he did just that. There were times when the Magic got bogged down offensively, but that had more to do with Chicago’s second unit tightening things up on defense more than anything else. All in all, Ridnour got the job done.
There’s a lot going on with the Bulls right now. Derrick Rose is in a prolonged shooting slump, Joakim Noah isn’t healthy, and Mike Dunleavy and Doug McDermott are sidelined with injuries. Even with the loss, how does Chicago have a 26-13 record? Gasol and Butler are playing like All-Stars, and Nikola Mirotic has emerged as a leading Rookie of the Year candidate.