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Gortat, Battie propel Magic past Bulls

Mar 12, 2009 - 3:02 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Marcin Gortat recorded 13 points and 15 rebounds and Tony Battie contributed 18 and eight as the Orlando Magic clinched playoff berth by trouncing the Chicago Bulls, 107-79, on Wednesday.

Dwight Howard scored 15 points and grabbed nine boards while Courtney Lee poured in 14 to help the Magic bounce back from a 98-94 setback to the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

"We are looking for home court ... and finishing the season strong," Howard said. "Marcin took the loss to Detroit to heart and he worked very hard tonight. (Gortat and Battie) were not thinking too much, just playing hard."

John Salmons contributed 18 points and eight rebounds to pace the Bulls, who have dropped two straight on their three-game road trip.

"We gave them the day off yesterday to try to rest and get their legs back," Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Instead, we made the game real hard for ourselves. We just didn't make enough shots.

"I think that our effort was not good enough to beat a team like Orlando, they jumped on us early and we were battling uphill."

Winners of five of six, Orlando used a well-balanced attack to offset a dismal night for Rashard Lewis, who finished with three points on 0-of-9 shooting.

After jumping out to an early 26-13 lead after the first quarter, the Magic held the Bulls in check in the second and then put the game out of reach with a torrid run in the third.

"We knew we needed to bounce back from the loss in Detroit," Battie said. "We wanted to pick up the slack without (injured forward Hedo Turkoglu)."

Lee drilled a 3-pointer with 3:43 remaining in the session to cap a 22-9 run before Orlando wrapped up the spurt to stake an 85-53 lead.

"Some guys are still trying to get back from injuries," Chicago guard Ben Gordon said. "We got off to a bad start and things compounded from there."

The Bulls, who are locked in a close race with the Milwaukee Bucks and New Jersey Nets for the eighth and final spot in the tight Eastern Conference playoff picture, shot 32 percent from the floor and committed 16 turnovers.

"We played bad as a team," Chicago center Brad Miller said. "We just didn't have it from the beginning."

Meanwhile, the Magic - enjoying a healthy cushion as the third seed in the East - shot 48 percent and held a 53-44 edge in rebounds.

"The defense tonight was outstanding throughout," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I thought that and our bench were key in the win."

  • 5
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

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