Mar 8, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) is defended by Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE
Dwight Howard was a monster inside, Orlando's shooters shot well, and the Magic snapped the Chicago Bulls' big home win streak.
It looked at times like the Orlando Magic were going to clip the Chicago Bulls' eight-game home winning streak in embarrassing fashion. It didn't go quite that way, but they still managed to stave off the Bulls nonetheless. Orlando held double-digit leads in both halves, but had to weather a pair of rapid Bulls comebacks to come away with the 99-94 victory.
Orlando rushed out to a big lead in what felt like moments after the opening tip. They scored 37 first quarter points in exceedingly Magical fashion, with Dwight Howard trampling the Chicago frontcourt inside, and shooters like Quentin Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu drilling threes to keep the floor spread. Orlando as a team shot 6-8 from downtown and led by 15 at the end of the first quarter.
The game slowed down considerably when the benches took the floor, and it stayed relatively level until the very last minutes of the half. Orlando seemed poised to maintain their double-digit lead into halftime, but Derrick Rose led the Bulls to a 90-second long 10-0 run before the break. His running, buzzer-beating 30-footer cut Orlando's lead to just five at the half.
Buoyed by Jason Richardson's shooting, Orlando managed to rebuild its lead back to double digits from a slow third quarter into the beginning of the fourth, but Carlos Boozer and his funky mid-range jumper got rowdy in the fourth and brough the Bulls back (Boozer finished with 26 points). One of those funk-jumpers actually put Chicago ahead by two with just under three minutes remaining, but the Magic took over from that point forward. Jameer Nelson threw a hiiiiiiigh alley-oop to Howard to tie the game, then recovered his own stuffed attempt to hit Ryan Anderson for a wide-open three. Orlando hit their big free throws the rest of the way, while Rose (who finished just 6-22) missed some good looks and whiffed one of two free throws that would have cut the lead to three.
Howard registered 29 points and 18 rebounds, and the shooters hit 11 of 26 threes to lead the Magic to a big win against an Eastern Conference rival.
All that said, this is your highlight of the evening:
Embracing a ref isn't okay now, eh? (The secret MVP of that video is the long-sleeved undershirt bro's bizarre technical foul dance. It's mesmerizing.)