Published November 20, 2014
The shockingly undefeated Orlando Magic embark on their first road trip of the season, starting Tuesday when they visit the Chicago Bulls.
The Magic, pegged by most to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference after the offseason Dwight Howard trade, own a pair of double-digit victories at home this season -- a 102-89 waxing of the Denver Nuggets and a 115-94 drubbing of the Phoenix Suns.
Glen Davis has become the offensive focus of the Magic, who will try to go 3-0 for the fourth time in franchise history. Through two games, he's averaging 25.5 points and nine rebounds. Davis will have to carry the slack again as the Magic will be without point guard Jameer Nelson, who is out with a hamstring injury, and Hedo Turkoglu, who broke his left hand in the season-opener on Friday.
E'Twaun Moore is expected to once again start in place of Nelson, while DeQuan Jones will get the nod for Turkoglu. Moore had 15 points and six assists in 38 minutes against the Suns and Jones only managed two points in 16 minutes.
J.J. Redick has helped out in the absence of the two starters. The Duke product has scored 21 and 24, respectively in the two games and has tallied 34 minutes in each game.
"What I've been impressed with the most with J.J. is his ability to practice and play like an extreme professional," Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn said after Monday's practice. "What that does is, it teaches our young guys that this is how you survive in this league. You practice just as hard as you play and he's been unbelievable at doing that for us."
Redick also helped the Magic shoot 9-for-11 from the 3-point line against Phoenix.
The Bulls are coming off a bad loss Saturday night, at home against New Orleans. The Hornets were without the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, Anthony Davis, who missed the contest with a concussion.
In the loss to the Hornets, three Bulls bench players scored in double- figures, but the starting backcourt of Richard Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich -- minus Derrick Rose -- combined for six points. Throw in Carlos Boozer's measly four points and the three veteran Bulls had a terrible night.
"We were just searching, trying to get some energy out there," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau of his bench performance Saturday night. "The nights you are not shooting well, there are many other things you can do to help your team win the game. That is the mindset I want us to have."
Against the Hornets, the Bulls shot a putrid 17.6 percent from beyond the arc and an equally pathetic 33 percent from the field.
The Bulls have won five of the last seven matchups, but Orlando won the only game between the two in Chicago last season.