10 observations as win streak reaches eight

10 observations: Bulls outlast Magic for 8th straight win originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Bulls didn’t play their best game at the United Center Monday night.

The offense sputtered. There were nail-biting moments late in the game. And, ultimately, a scrappy 7-30 Orlando Magic team playing the second night of a road-road back-to-back (which began with an overtime loss in Boston on Sunday) hung around until the final seconds.

But the end result was a 102-98 victory. The Bulls move to 25-10 on the season with the result, and have their first eight-game win streak since March 2012.

Here are 10 observations:

1. The Bulls didn’t score a fastbreak point in Saturday’s win over the Wizards. But in his return from a five-game absence in health and safety protocols, Lonzo Ball got them running early:

Ball looked himself as a facilitator, slinging seven assists, and typically excellent at the defensive end, swiping three steals and generating countless more deflections. But he did miss seven of his eight field-goal attempts (1-for-7 from 3) and committed a potentially-costly three-shot foul on Franz Wagner inside the final minute of the fourth quarter.

2. Despite that early highlight, the Bulls got off to a sluggish start offensively. They missed their first six shots before DeMar DeRozan drew free throws on a pump fake to get them their first points. Ball’s feed to Zach LaVine marked the team’s first made field goal – and rim attempt.

An Ayo Dosunmu corner 3, which stymied a start of eight straight long-range misses, saved the Bulls from their lowest-scoring first quarter of the season (14 against the Pistons in the opener), but they still shot 5-for-21 and trailed 21-15 after one.

3. The second quarter saw something of a bounceback. Dosunmu’s 3 inspired makes from Derrick Jones Jr. and Troy Brown Jr., and by the eight-minute mark of the period, the Bulls had vaulted in front 27-26 after trailing by as many as 11 points in the first quarter.

Story continues

The Bulls scored 30 points in the second, shooting 5-for-9 from 3 compared to 1-for-9 in the first, to carry a 45-40 lead into halftime.

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