clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NBA: Howard, Magic rip Bulls 107-87

CHICAGO — Dwight Howard had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic pulled away early for a 107-87 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night and their 10th win in 12 games.

Orlando led 41-17 through the first quarter and didn't have to contend with All-Star point guard Derrick Rose after he left with a bruised right hip following a hard foul by Howard in the opening minutes. That was a chilling sight on a night when little looked good for the Bulls, and the Magic could do no wrong.

They certainly look ready for their matchup with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, a showdown between the Eastern Conference's top teams before the All-Star break.

Howard had his league-leading 41st double-double, while Vince Carter scored 15 points after pouring in a season-high 48 in a win over New Orleans on Monday. Matt Barnes added 14 for the Magic, who had seven players in double figures.

Luol Deng led Chicago with 23 points, his fourth straight game with 20 or more, but the Bulls never had a chance — particularly after Rose went down.

Selected to the U.S. national team pool Wednesday, Rose's day took a drastic turn for the worse almost as soon as the game began. He drove the lane for a layup about 2 minutes into it and got knocked to the floor by Howard, clutching his lower back before slowly rising to his feet. Rose then hit a free throw to complete the three-point play but left right after that.

The Magic followed up a 68-point second half in Monday's win over New Orleans with their second-most prolific quarter this season.

They hit 15 of 22 shots in the opening period, including 11 of their first 13 while jumping out to a 30-11 lead. With a 9-6 lead after Rose's three-point play, they scored 11 straight to break it open — a layup by Barnes, a 3-pointer by Rashard Lewis after a wild missed layup by Chicago's John Salmons, and another layup by Barnes capping that run.

Carter, meanwhile, hit a 3-pointer and a 16-footer to make it 30-11 with about five minutes left in the quarter, and after two free throws by Deng, Howard spun toward the rim for a thunderous alley-oop dunk from Jameer Nelson.

NOTES: The Magic scored 42 points in the opening quarter against Golden State on Dec. 5, when they had 72 in the half. ... Before the game, Rose said he planned to soak in the atmosphere and absorb a few lessons at the All-Star game this weekend. "You get to see what the players do on and off the court, with the media, how they treat their fans, and just learn from it," he said. One thing he won't do: Lobby the potential big-name free agents to sign with Chicago in the summer. "If they choose to come here, I wouldn't mind, to tell you the truth." ... Coach Vinny Del Negro said F Taj Gibson will be limited to about four or five minutes per half in the Rookie Challenge because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot.