The Chicago Bulls will wrap up a four-game road trip with a shot at their third consecutive victory when they visit the Orlando Magic on Monday.
The Bulls have struggled for most of the season, but their mood has improved after playing well on the road heading into the holidays. Since beginning the trip with a three-point loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Bulls have rattled off back-to-back wins over the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons.
“We’ve been in so many situations where we got to be comfortable at one point in time,” Bulls guard Kris Dunn said to reporters after Saturday’s 119-107 win over Detroit.
“We’re starting to figure out who needs the ball in the fourth quarter and let them make the plays, collectively, just go out there and be us. And the main thing in the fourth quarter is when we get stops, everything else takes care of itself.”
Now comes a visit to Orlando, which has lost six of its last seven games.
The Magic return home after an ugly four-game road trip that ended with three losses in a row. Orlando beat the New Orleans Pelicans to start the road trip before falling short to the Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers across a four-day span.
Orlando forward Aaron Gordon will try to get back on track against Chicago after enduring a recent slump.
“Man, I gotta let go of the frustration,” Gordon said to reporters. “I know how much work I put in and how diligent I am about this game and how much of a professional I am. So the shots are gonna fall as long as I stay confident and keep shooting the ball, so I’m not worried about that.
“I gotta figure out ways to impact the game in other ways while (scoring) is not happening. I know those games are coming back, so I gotta just stay patient with myself and help my teammates around them and just bring energy to the game. I know it’s gonna come.”
This is the first of three meetings between the Bulls and Magic during the regular season.
Chicago is led in scoring by Zach LaVine, who is averaging 23.5 points on 43.6 percent shooting. Lauri Markkanen ranks second on the team with 14.8 points per game, and he has made 18 of 30 shots over his past two games.
Orlando’s top scorer is Evan Fournier, who is averaging 19.6 points on 47.6 percent shooting. Big man Nikola Vucevic has been productive on both ends of the court with 17.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per contest.
Orlando is 8-6 at home while Chicago is 6-9 on the road.
The Bulls think they have a chance to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff mix if they keep playing well.
“We understand what the standings are, we’re not dumb to it, we see it, and that’s our goal,” Dunn said to reporters. “We got to go in Monday against Orlando and do what we do.”
–Field Level Media