Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 1/2

Game 1: Saturday, January 2nd
Game 2: Wednesday, February 10th
Game 3: Thursday, March 11th

Bulls 82

(31-33, 12-20 away)

Magic 111

(46-20, 27-6 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    8:00 PM ET, March 11, 2010

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHI 17 16 18 3182
    ORL 28 37 14 32111

    Top Performers

    Chi: J. Johnson 13 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Orl: V. Carter 23 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Blk

    Carter helps Magic pull away early as Bulls lose Rose

    Associated Press

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Dwight Howard insists he didn't intend to hurt Derrick Rose. He was just protecting the basket.

    So when Rose drove the lane hard and tried to finish over the towering center for the second time this season, the man who goes by "Superman" again delivered on his nickname.

    The Man of Steel.

    Daily Dime

    Magic In Thursday's Daily Dime, ESPN analyst Jon Barry wonders if this year's Magic team will struggle in the playoffs without Hedo Turkoglu. Story

    "I think if you hit something that doesn't move," Howard said, "you usually end up falling."

    Howard went up. Rose went down. Two teams continued to head in opposite directions.

    Vince Carter had 23 points to help the Magic pull away early and cruise past the injured Bulls, 111-82 on Thursday night for a season-high seventh straight win.

    Matt Barnes added 14 points, and reserve Brandon Bass scored 13 in another blowout victory against a struggling team for the Magic.

    "That's what we should've done," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They started the game a little undermanned, and then obviously when Rose went down, they were very undermanned."

    Rose sprained his left wrist in the midair collision with Howard in the first quarter and didn't return for the Bulls, the latest setback in a season that's quickly going sour. Taj Gibson and Hakim Warrick had 12 points apiece, not nearly enough to prevent Chicago's sixth consecutive loss.

    Fast Facts

    • Vince Carter led all scorers with 23 points in 26 minutes as Orlando extended its win streak to seven games.

    • The Bulls fell to 2-14 this season when scoring less than 90 points. Chicago has been outscored by an average of 17 points a game during its six-game losing streak.

    • The Magic outrebounded the Bulls 46-29 and held the Bulls to 39.8 percent from the field.

    -- ESPN Stats & Information

    "We've got to find a way to get healthy and weather the storm," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "But there's no question we are a battered bunch right now."

    The Magic have left their mark on the Bulls this season -- a big bruise the last two meetings for Rose.

    The play was almost identical to the one that sidelined the Bulls star when the teams last met Feb. 10. Rose clutched his lower back and wrist before slowly rising to his feet, making one of the free throws.

    "He's going full speed, and he's hitting basically an immovable object," Van Gundy said.

    Rose stayed in the game before being taken to the locker room after the quarter for an X-ray, which came back negative. He will have an MRI on Friday in Miami.

    Howard he said he offered a suggestion to Rose during the All-Star break: jump off two feet to keep balance.

    "I just want him to save years on his body," Howard said.

    The Magic had their way without Rose.

    Howard had an alley-oop dunk on a pass from Jason Williams. Marcin Gortat had a one-handed slam on an alley-oop from Williams. Four different Magic players made at least one 3-pointer.

    And that was just in the opening half, with Orlando going ahead 65-33.

    Things got so out hand that fans chanted at full throat, "We want Foyle," referring to 35-year-old third-string center Adonal Foyle, the only Orlando player who hasn't played this season. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was even booed after he didn't give in during a late timeout. Van Gundy could only chuckle.

    After all, this was a laugher.

    The Bulls were outhustled by a Magic team playing its best basketball of the season. At a time when teams are trying to make a push toward the postseason, the Bulls couldn't be playing worse.

    Or be missing so many key pieces.

    They're already without their leading rebounder and inside defender, Joakim Noah, sidelined with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. And the Bulls' second-leading scorer, Luol Deng, is out with a strained right calf.

    The injuries have led to poor play and pushed Chicago out of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot. The Bulls are 1 1/2 games behind Miami, Charlotte and Toronto for the eighth seed.

    The Magic moved 4 1/2 games behind first-place Cleveland -- and 4 1/2 ahead of Boston -- in the East. They have taken advantage of talent-deprived and injury-riddled teams the past two weeks.

    Mixed in with a big win against the Lakers, the Magic have beaten the Clippers, Golden State, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Miami during their streak.

    "Right now, we're trying to play the best basketball we can," Carter said. "Hopefully, roll it into the playoffs."

    Game notes

    Magic backup SF Mickael Pietrus missed the game with a strained neck. He is day to day. ... Yankees ace CC Sabathia was sitting in the front row on the baseline for the third straight Magic home game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 111
    FGM-FGA 33-83 (.398) 38-69 (.551)
    3PM-3PA 4-16 (.250) 9-24 (.375)
    FTM-FTA 12-19 (.632) 26-33 (.788)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-29 11-46
    Assists 19 19
    Turnovers 14 21
    Steals 10 6
    Blocks 1 8
    Fast Break Points 8 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (1/0) 19 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 0 34

    Top Performers

    James Johnson Johnson
    Points: 13
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1
    Vince Carter Carter
    Points: 23
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1