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Chicago Bulls (16-13) at Orlando Magic (12-19) Preview: the Magic of 2013

January 2nd, 2013 at 2:22 PM
By Caleb Nordgren

Things that the Chicago Bulls have done this season:

  • Lost to the Charlotte Bobcats at home, ending Charlotte's 18-game losing streak.
  • Lost to the Houston Rockets — and old friend Omer Asik — at home by 23 points, on national TV on Christmas Day.
  • Blown a 27-point lead in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, also at home.
  • Lost to the New Orleans Hornets sans Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon, again at home.
  • Had their December 26th matchup with the Indiana Pacers postponed due to inclement weather.

They've also beaten the New York Knicks twice and managed to win 16 games thus far. Let's just say that the 2012 part of the 2012-2013 season hasn't made much in the way of sense so far.

The Bulls open their 2013 schedule with the Orlando Magic, who they've already beaten in November, winning 99-93 at the United Center, even after Joakim Noah threw up a wild three pointer in the closing seconds in an effort to get the fans free Big Macs.

The Magic haven't been good this year, which probably has something to do with Dwight Howard having a new home out west. But they still have some decent pieces. Nikola Vucevic, one of the players received in the aforementioned Howard deal, is coming off a monster 20-point, 29-rebound performance against the Miami Heat in which he broke Orlando's franchise record for most rebounds in a game. That record was previously held by Shaq. Yes, that Shaq. Is there another one?

JJ Redick continues to prove himself as a quality player in the NBA and continues to madden Bulls fans that the Magic had to match the offer sheet the Bulls signed him to in the summer of 2010. Redick's putting in an impressive campaign as Orlando's sixth man, averaging 16.5 points and 5.5 assists per-36 minutes. He also has an expiring contract, so odds are he'll find a new home by the trade deadline. And before you ask, no, the Bulls will not be that new home. As much as we'd all like them to be.

He also will not be signing with them in free agency, as long as we're here, unless he suddenly becomes enamored with the mini mid-level. Without amnestying Carlos Boozer — which should happen, but won't — the Bulls will be well over both the cap and the luxury tax line. They do have a $5 million trade exception from the Kyle Korver deal — and probably one more from the inevitable Rip Hamilton trade — but the CBA prohibits teams over the "tax apron," which the Bulls would be, from making any sign-and-trade deals. That's the only way Redick could even get $5 mil from the Bulls. And no, trade exceptions can't be combined.

Anyway, the Bulls desperately need to rebound from their horrible, horrible loss to the Bobcats. Joakim Noah was reportedly "under the weather" on Monday — which could possibly just mean he was hung over, but that's pure speculation — so if he's better by now, that'll be huge. Luol Deng is still banged up, but he figures to get his nightly 40+ minutes anyway. Kirk Hinrich is supposed to be back, but given that it's Kirk Hinrich, that could end up being a net negative for the Bulls. We'll see.

Key Matchup: Glen "Big Baby" Davis v. Carlos Boozer

In the matchup of inefficient, overpaid, undersized and roundly disliked power forwards, everyone loses. Boozer's probably better offensively, but Davis is much, much better on D, although that says more about Boozer than Davis. These two figure to go at each other a lot, so please see your doctor if you start feeling nauseous. Preferably before you start throwing up everywhere.

Tags: Carlos Boozer, Chicago, Chicago Bulls, JJ Redick, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, NBA, Orlando Magic, Rip Hamilton

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