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(Wednesday, January 2nd)
Final Score: Chicago 96, Orlando 94
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Carlos Boozer tallied 31 points and 11 rebounds in the Chicago Bulls' 96-94 triumph over the Orlando Magic.
Luol Deng netted 23 points, while Taj Gibson added 21 points and 11 boards for the Bulls, who nearly surrendered an 18-point lead.
"We had good offensive energy and not the necessary defensive energy," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau admitted. "It was better, but we still have to do much better than we did tonight."
Jameer Nelson nailed six 3-pointers and tied a career-high with 32 points for Orlando, which has dropped seven consecutive contests.
"There was a stretch in the game where Chicago could break our spirits, but we stayed together," Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn said. "They're playing hard, but it's just not resulting into wins."
The Magic used an 11-2 run to cut the Chicago advantage to 86-84 midway through the fourth, only to see the Bulls counter with an 8-0 spurt.
Gibson had a dunk, Kirk Hinrich sunk a pair of free throws, Boozer converted a layup and Richard Hamilton nailed pull-up jumper in transition to make it 94-84 with 3:35 remaining.
The Magic responded again, though.
Triples by J.J. Redick and Arron Afflalo, sandwiched around a Nikola Vucevic dunk, pulled the hosts within 94-92 with 46 ticks left.
Hinrich missed a jumper at the other end, but Gibson blocked Nelson's shot on Orlando's ensuing trip down the floor and Deng nailed two free throws with 4.2 ticks to play to seal the outcome.
The Bulls led 29-28 after a quarter of play, took a 54-46 edge into the break and headed into the final frame with an 82-71 cushion.
Chicago center Joakim Noah missed his second straight game with the flu ... The Bulls turned the ball over just seven times, while the Magic committed 12 giveaways.
01/02 23:54:25 ET
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