Fast forward 10 months. Same setup. A 2-1 Bulls team taking on an undefeated Magic team. Yeah…about that.
Look, this game promises to be ugly in all the wrong ways. Both teams figure to play defense and struggle to score. For the Bulls, the key will be getting…well, everybody back on track offensively after a putrid shooting night on Saturday. Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Rip Hamilton, Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli all had terrible games. You may notice that those seven players are pretty much the best the Bulls have offensively. So…yeah.
The Magic have, for some reason, been playing through Glen "Big Baby" Davis for much of the early going. Somehow, that's more or less worked for them. JJ Reddick has also been excellent early on, scoring 45 points through two games, shooting 64 percent from the field (!) and 75 percent from three (!!!). They'll be without point guard Jameer Nelson again, but they won without him against the Phoenix Suns. Then again, it was the Suns.
In theory, the Bulls shouldn't have a lot of trouble with the Magic. But they're going to have to make some shots first.
Key Matchup: Glen Davis v. Joakim Noah
Davis probably won't end up guarding Noah much, but there's no way Tom Thibodeau leaves Boozer on Davis. None whatsoever. Boozer will end up on whoever else is on the floor with Davis, be it Nikola Vucevic or Gustavo Ayon or someone else. Through two games, Davis has scored 51 points on almost 47 percent shooting. If Noah and Taj Gibson can handle him, the Magic could be in trouble.
Probable Starting Fives
Orlando Magic: E'Twaun Moore, PG, DeQuan Jones, SG; Nikola Vucevic, C; Glen Davis, PF, Arron Afflalo, SFTags: Carlos Boozer, Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, JJ Reddick, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, NBA, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns