The Orlando Magic lost an incredibly competitive game to the Chicago Bulls 128-125 in three overtimes on Wednesday.
Coming into the game, nobody would have guessed that two of the worst offensive teams in the NBA would contribute to one of the best games of the 2013-14 season. However, every once in a while, the right pairing can turn ineptitude into greatness. That is what happened in the Magic-Bulls match up.
The Magic had many opportunities to put the game away, even jumping out to a 15-point lead in the 3rd quarter, but were unable to get the win against the Bulls. Here are the three takeaways from an excruciatingly exciting game.
Victor Oladipo goes off
Victor Oladipo had his best game as an NBA player on Wednesday. The only other game that compares to this performance was his triple-double game against the Philadephia 76ers. However, the Bulls are a much more competent defensive team than the 76ers. Oladipo scored 35 points against the 2nd best defensive team in the NBA in the Bulls. The Magic rookie showed off aspects of his game that he had not shown before, including a floater, a wrong-footed fadeaway jump shot reminiscent of Dirk Nowitski and a fadeaway bank shot off the glass on the left side of the court, which made those Dwyane Wade comparisons seem apt at least on this night. Throughout regulation, the Bulls could do nothing to stop Oladipo from scoring and he single-handedly kept the Magic in the game in the 4th quarter when it looked like the Magic were going to let the game slip away.
Jameer Nelson: The ultimate magician
Jameer Nelson had an outstanding game for the Magic, combined with Oladipo, the backcourt spurred the Magic forward when the Bulls made a run. Nelson finished the game with a double-double of 31 points and 10 assists. The veteran point guard also hit a tough fadeaway 2-point jump shot over the Bulls’ Joakim Noah to send the game into overtime.
Joakim Noah sinks the Magic in the 3rd overtime
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was sensational throughout the game putting up a double-double performance of 26 points and 19 rebounds. Noah’s energy throughout the three overtimes kept the Bulls in the game. He then shut the door on the Magic in the 3rd overtime, when he blocked Oladipo twice on separate possession. The two blocked shots were the only blocked shots for Noah in the entire game, but they came when the Bulls needed his defense the most.
The next game for the Magic will be against the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.