The Orlando Magic (7-17) will take on the Chicago Bulls (9-13) tonight in Chicago in the first match up of the season between the two teams. The Magic will look to respond after losing a closely contested game to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. Last season, the Bulls won all four games against the Magic. However, the first three games games were incredibly close as the Bulls won by a combined nine points.
Here are three things to watch for between the Magic and Bulls.
Stop Carlos Boozer
Carlos Boozer dominated the Magic front court last season averaging 24.3 points and 11.3 rebounds in the three games. One key factor in the losses last season for the Magic, was the absence of power forward Glen Davis, who only played in one of the games last season. In that one game, Davis was able to limit Boozer to 12 points, while also punishing Boozer on the offensive end of court with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Arron Afflalo vs. Luol Deng
Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA and will look to contain Orlando Magic guard Arron Afflalo. Prior to Saturday’s game against the Toronto Rapters, Deng missed four straight games due to swelling in his Achilles tendon. Deng looked healthy on Saturday as he scored 17 points. The small forward is currently listed as day-to-day, but will most likely play tonight. The Bulls as a team have struggled since All-Star point guard Derrick Rose tore his meniscus in his right knee. However, Deng has had one of his best seasons offensively averaging 19 points per game.
Arron Afflalo’s play this season has him in the discussion of being the best shooting guard in the NBA so far this season. Afflalo is averaging a career high 21 points per game and is currently No. 10 in the NBA in scoring.
This match up will go a long way in determining which team will pull out this much needed win.
A win tonight could be an uphill battle
The Magic have struggled in the 2nd game of back-to-backs going 1-5 in the respective games. Another aspect of the game to watch is how will the Magic respond in the 2nd game after suffering a heart breaking loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-98 on Sunday.
Orlando Magic Probable Starting Lineup
PG Jameer Nelson
SG Victor Oladipo
SF Arron Afflalo
PF Glen Davis or Tobias Harris (Davis rammed his shoulder into the basket stanchion on Sunday. He did return to the court and launched the 3-point shot that would have tied the game. Davis will most likely play tonight, but is officially listed as day-to-day.)
C Nikola Vucevic
Chicago Bulls Probable Starting Lineup
PG Kirk Hinrich or Marquise Teague (Hinrich missed Saturday’s game with a bad back and will be game-time decision tonight against the Orlando Magic)
SG Jimmy Butler
SF Luol Deng
PF Carlos Boozer
C Joakim Noah
The Orlando Magic are 2-11 on the road this season.
Tip-off from the United Center in Chicago is set for 8 p.m. and can be seen on Fox Sports Florida.