Magic hand Bulls fourth straight loss

Thu Mar 3, 2016 12:15am EST
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(The Sports Xchange) - The Chicago Bulls have fallen, and they can't seem to get up. And the playoffs are slipping away.

The Bulls lost badly for the second consecutive night, 102-89 to the Orlando Magic, and never seriously challenged after a woeful start in another poor defensive performance.

Chicago (30-30) lost its fourth consecutive game and their seventh straight on the road. If the playoffs started today, the Bulls would be home watching for the first time in eight seasons.

"This is foreign territory for me," said Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who led the Bulls with 16 points and six assists. "There are no excuses. It's all about the goals of the team. We said in pre-season we wanted to be in the playoffs, but the question is now, are we trying to do that. I'm trying to figure that out. If we are, we have to start playing differently."

Rose, who recently returned from a hamstring injury, played only eight minutes in the second half and failed to score. They never seriously challenged without him.

"It's frustrating, and things don't look too good right now," said center Pau Gasol, who had 12 points and five rebounds. "Teams smell blood with us, and they just go for it. We have to step it up."

The Bulls were without starting forward Taj Gibson, who missed his first game of the season with a sore hamstring sustained Tuesday in a lopsided loss in Miami. They also have been playing without center Joakim Noah (left shoulder strain) and guard Jimmy Butler (left knee).

"We've got a hodge-podge group of guys out there now," said forward Mike Dunleavy, who had eight points and six rebounds. "There are a lot of holes everywhere. The team is struggling, but we have to hang in there."

The Magic (27-33) led from start to finish in a surprisingly easy victory.   Continued...

Mar 2, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) trips Chicago Bulls guard Aaron Brooks (0) during the second half of a basketball game at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports