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Boozer leads, Bulls breeze

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 5:31 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP photo)
Bulls forward Luol Deng drives past Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu during the first half Monday in Orlando, Fla.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Carlos Boozer scored 24 points and had 13 rebounds, John Lucas scored 20 points off the bench and the Bulls beat the Orlando Magic 85-59 on Monday night.

The Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau also became the fastest coach in NBA history to earn 100 career victories. The Bulls won for the fifth time in six games.

They also improved to 3-1 over the past four games playing without guard Derrick Rose, who continued to nurse a sore groin.

Dwight Howard had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Magic, who had 19 turnovers.

The Magic have lost three of their last four since posting a three-game win streak. They’ve also now gone six straight quarters without scoring at least 20 points.

Turnovers were a factor in the Magic’s loss to the Bulls in early January and they again played a huge role Monday as Orlando’s miscues yielded 25 of the Bulls’ points. By comparison, the Bulls’ 16 turnovers only led to seven points for the Magic.

Orlando trailed by double-digits for most of the second half, before cutting a 15-point Bulls’ first-half lead to 12 entering the fourth quarter as its early turnover issues began to subside.

The Bulls’ offense was steady down the stretch, though, and Joakim Noah’s three-point play on a two-handed dunk over Glen Davis with 6:54 to play in the game put them up 72-52 to end any comeback hopes.

The Bulls took advantage of the Magic’s initial turnover issues to build a 48-33 halftime advantage.

Orlando opened the game with a 5-0 spurt, but Chicago got hot at the end of the first quarter thanks to a 10-0 run that included three straight 3-pointers by Lucas.

Boozer’s 16 first-half points paced a Bulls’ team that shot 50 percent (20 for 40) in the opening 24 minutes, while the Magic connected on just 38 percent of their attempts (14 for 36).

Chicago also scored 16 points off 11 Magic turnovers and scored 22 points in the paint.

Notes: Rose missed his 14th game of the season after sitting just six games in his first three NBA seasons combined. He appeared in 81 regular-season games in two of those seasons. ... Howard received his ninth technical of the season in the third quarter. ... Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said that the focus for the Magic over their final 19 games would be on reducing turnovers and building better defensive habits. “We’re just not building solid habits and making good enough decisions,” he said. “And at the end of the day, you are going to hit the playoffs and you are going to be left with your habits. We’re running out of time. We have 5 1/2 weeks and it’s time.” ... The Magic dropped to 7-8 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

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