The Orlando Magic hope to avoid their first seven-game losing streak in nearly seven years on Wednesday night as they play host to the Chicago Bulls.
The Magic nearly closed out 2012 with a bang, but instead dropped a heart- breaking 112-110 overtime decision to the Miami Heat on Monday. Orlando led by four late in the fourth quarter, but gave up the game-tying bucket with 35.8 seconds to go and a turnover led to a four-point deficit with 6.2 ticks to go in overtime.
Nikola Vucevic set a franchise record with 29 rebounds and also set a personal best with 20 points, while Aaron Afflalo had 28 points. J.J. Redick, whose pass late in overtime was picked off and led to a dunk the other way, had 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting with five 3-point shots made.
"We fought the whole game," said Vucevic. "We had a chance to win in the fourth quarter but made some mistakes. It's tough, they're the best team in the league and we were right there to beat them."
Orlando's longest losing streak of the season is in danger of reaching seven straight for the first time since an eight-game slide from Feb. 6-22, 2006.
The Magic, who committed 17 turnovers versus the Heat, were without guards Jameer Nelson (strained hip) and E'Twaun Moore (sprained left elbow) for a second straight game.
Orlando has lost the first two of a four-game homestand that ends on Saturday versus the New York Knicks.
The Bulls are coming off their own disappointing defeat, falling 91-81 to the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday. It was the Bobcats' first victory in 19 games as they outscored the Bulls 26-16 in the fourth.
Chicago rallied from 12 down in the third to tie the game, but shot just 23.1 percent in the final quarter.
"We just defensively didn't get stops," said Chicago's Luol Deng of allowing Charlotte to pull away.
Deng ended with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Carlos Boozer posted 19 points and 14 boards as the Bulls lost for the third time in four games.
Chicago played without guard Kirk Hinrich, who is again questionable for Wednesday night due to a sore left knee.
Deng had 23 points and eight rebounds in a 99-93 home win over the Magic on Nov. 6. Joakim Noah added 20 points, nine boards, five blocks and four assists as Chicago won for the sixth time in the past seven games of this series.
Afflalo led the Magic with 28 points.
Chicago has won four straight in Orlando.