Derrick Rose, Bulls bounce back, snap Magic's win streak

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose hardly looked like an MVP candidate earlier this week in a humbling loss at Atlanta.

He and his teammates took out some of their frustrations Friday night against Orlando.

Rose scored 24 points and Luol Deng added 16 to help Chicago hang on for an 89-81 win over the Magic in a matchup of two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

"Just staying solid," Rose said of the Bulls' effort. "That was the biggest thing. When we got the lead, we just wanted to keep it. They're a great team and can easily come back with the way they shoot 3s."

The Bulls bounced back from a three-point defeat against Atlanta on Wednesday to earn their eighth victory in 10 games. Orlando's loss snapped a four-game winning streak, and a five-game run against the Bulls at home.

Chicago also increased its lead over the Magic to 3½ games for the third-best record in the East.

Dwight Howard led Orlando with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but also picked up his 16th technical of the season. He faces a one-game suspension Monday night against Portland if the foul is not rescinded by the NBA. Jason Richardson and Brandon Bass each chipped in 16 points.

Golf star Tiger Woods, basketball Hall of Famers Julius Irving and Karl Malone, and Baltimore Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin were among the franchise-record crowd of 19,207.

Chicago ends a five-game road trip Sunday at Miami.

The Magic overcame a 24-point first-half deficit to pull off a 99-96 comeback win over Miami on Thursday night. But Richardson said fatigue might have caught up with them down the stretch Friday against Chicago.

Orlando was outrebounded 50-30 and shot only 6-for-23 from beyond the arc after connecting on 16 of 29 3-point attempts Thursday.

"We didn't really have it tonight," said Richardson, who followed up a 24-point night against the Heat that included six 3-pointers with four 3s against the Bulls. "It was just a tough game for us. I guess the emotional roller-coaster from [Thursday] night -- we exerted so much energy. We just couldn't get our energy up."

Chicago shot just 41 percent but won the majority of the hustle plays it didn't win when it was outscored 50-30 in the second half against the Hawks.

"I thought our defense was good after the first 5 minutes of the game, once we settled down," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Our bench came in and played great."

The Bulls held as much as a 16-point cushion in the third quarter, but led 65-57 entering the fourth.

The Magic closed the gap to 72-65 on a floater by Jameer Nelson with 7:09 to play. Rose then responded with a three-point play off a steal to put the Bulls back up by 10 at the 6:25 mark.

After Howard missed a pair of free throws, Kyle Korver nailed a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring to make it 78-67.

The Magic got within 81-72 on a short jumper by J.J. Redick with 2:23 left, but another 3 by Korver pushed it back to 86-73 with only 1:06 remaining to leave Orlando scrambling the rest of the way.

The Bulls outscored the Magic 28-18 in the second quarter to take a 49-35 advantage into halftime.

But it's what occurred with 1:41 left in the half that will likely linger in Magic fans' minds in the coming days.

Howard, who leads the NBA in technicals this season, was whistled for another one.

With the Bulls leading 43-29, Howard was hit on the top of his head by Korver as Howard came down with an offensive rebound.

Korver was whistled for a foul, but took a swipe at the ball moments after the play. That prompted Howard to swing his elbows. Referee Ed Malloy stepped in to separate them and also called a technical on Howard.

In addition to the possible suspension, Howard also could be fined $5,000.

"It's very frustrating and there's only so much that somebody can take when people are grabbing you, holding you and slapping you in the face, sometimes you are going to retaliate," Howard said. "I've just got to try to not get so emotional."

The play overshadowed another solid first half from Howard, who had eight points on 4-of-4 shooting and seven rebounds in the opening 24 minutes.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said that if Howard's technical is upheld by the league office, it won't change the team's preparation against Portland.

"It doesn't change at all, we'll just get ready to play," he said.

Game notes
The Bulls improved to 17-9 this season against teams over .500. ... The Magic's 30 rebounds were a season low. Their previous low was 33, set Nov. 26 against Cleveland. ... Howard had his 39th game this season with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.