It didn’t take long to see the wisdom of John Paxon’s wheeling and dealing at the deadline, The Bulls soundly beat the Orlando Magic (their possible first round playoff opponent) 120-102 Tuesday night. What was more impressive is how they did it. They controlled the game. They controlled the tempo and ran Orlando out of the game. They dominated position by position, even holding their own against the best center n the league. Here’s how it broke down:
- Dwight Howard 26 points 12 rebounds
- Tony Battie 4 points 1 rebounds
- Total Orlando Magic 30 points 13 rebounds
- Joakim Noah 14 points 8 rebounds
- Brad Miller 9 points 7 rebounds
- Total Chicago Bulls 23 points 15 rebounds
It is evident they played the strength of Orlando’s team to a wash. Orlando’s point guards had 20 points and 7 assists, while the Bulls’ point guards had 28 points and eight assists. The big difference was the shooting guards had 14 points for the Magic to 20 from Ben Gordon. John Salmons contributed 11 points at both guard and forward adding to Luol Deng’s 10 to outgun Turkelou’s 16 points. The Bulls power combo of Thomas/Thomas outscored the Magic’s power forwards 28-12, whose likes include their 120 million dollar man Rashard Lewis.
It is evident that it was a total team effort, with John Salmons as a swingman making up for Luol Deng’s deficiency and pushing him to fight for his playing time. If this game is an indicator of things to come, the Bulls may even go higher than the eight seed. They now have a real team with real depth, and some of that magic “inside presence” at least playing other teams bigs to a draw. That is a formula for success. Now if we can just build the right attitude…….