Chicago, IL – Nate Robinson scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to lead a late rally that propelled the Chicago Bulls to an 87-86 win over the Orlando Magic at the United Center.
Luol Deng also had 19 points for Chicago, which trailed by five with 10 minutes to play before embarking on an 18-4 run to take an 87-78 lead with 3:51 remaining.
"We played as hard as we could for as long as we could and we pulled out the victory," said Robinson.
The victory, Chicago's sixth in its last eight games, moved the Bulls within one game of Brooklyn for the fourth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Chicago now owns sole possession of the No. 5 spot as well after Atlanta lost to Philadelphia on Friday.
Beno Udrih poured in a season-high 27 points for Orlando, which scored the game's final eight points and had a chance to go ahead in the closing seconds before eventually being dealt a fourth straight defeat and 12th setback in 13 outings.
Nikola Vucevic finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Magic, with Tobias Harris also recording a double-double of 12 points and 11 boards.
"We were right there, we had a chance, we had the final possession but weren't able to score," said Vucevic. "It's a tough loss, but its part of the process."
Back-to-back baskets by rookie Kyle O'Quinn gave Orlando a 74-69 lead two minutes into the fourth quarter, but Chicago responded with eight consecutive points and went in front when Robinson buried a triple with 8:28 left to play.
Harris' putback shortly afterward brought Orlando within 79-78, but back-to- back treys by Deng and Vladimir Radmanovic gave the Bulls some breathing room and Robinson followed with a shorter jumper for an 87-78 cushion with just under four minutes remaining.
The Bulls would not score again, however, enabling the Magic to put the outcome back in doubt.
Robinson lost the handle on a late possession, which led to a DeQuan Jones slam that cut Orlando's deficit to 87-86 with 1:33 to go. The Magic never got another shot off, though, with their last two series ending in turnovers by Vucevic and Udrih.
Orlando closed out a tightly played first half on 10-2 run, capped by Jones' 3-pointer with 13.7 seconds left in the second quarter, to take a 43-40 edge into the break.
Udrih was the star of the third quarter, racking up 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting to help the Magic build a 69-61 lead with under a minute left in the frame. Chicago pulled to within 70-66 entering the fourth, though, after Robinson canned a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Orlando forward Maurice Harkless sat out the final two quarters after injuring his knee in the first half ... Chicago forward Taj Gibson missed a second straight game with a knee problem, joining injured teammates Derrick Rose (knee), Joakim Noah (foot), Richard Hamilton (back) and Marco Belinelli (abdominal) on the sidelines ... Udrih's previous best this season was 20 points, set at Atlanta this past Saturday ... Kirk Hinrich finished with 13 points for Chicago, with Carlos Boozer and Jimmy Butler each netting 12 in the win.