National Basketball Association
Chicago vs Orlando
When: 9:30 PM ET, Thursday, December 13, 2018
Where: Mexico City Arena, Mexico City
The Chicago Bulls are mired in dysfunction and a trip to Mexico isn't going to feel like a vacation. The Bulls have lost nine of their past 10 games as they oppose the Orlando Magic in Thursday's game in Mexico City.
Chicago fired coach Fred Hoiberg early last week, suffered a franchise-worst 56-point loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday and players staged a mini revolt when new coach Jim Boylen wanted to practice the following day before instead holding a team meeting. "I think everything made us closer, good bad or ugly," Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine told reporters. "I think the ordeal was good for the team. Everybody spoke the truth about everything. There isn't any more mixed feelings. I think everything was on the table. Being straight up with people is always a good thing. Sometimes people are afraid of the truth, and I think we handled that." Orlando arrives in Mexico for two games - including Saturday against the Utah Jazz - on the heels of three straight losses and center Nikola Vucevic wants to depart with two victories. "These trips are always fun, going to a different city and a different country and you'll get to see some things you usually wouldn't," Vucevic told reporters. "But for us, it's a business trip and we've got to take care of business. We can be tourists in the summer, but for now it's important for us to focus on these next two games and play better as a team."TV:
9:30 p.m. ET, NBCS Chicago, FS Florida (Orlando)ABOUT THE BULLS (6-22):
Chicago had both point guard Kris Dunn and power forward Bobby Portis back on the court for Monday's 108-89 loss to the Sacramento Kings, which is a major boost to the team's depth. Dunn recorded nine points and six assists in 20 minutes in his first game in seven weeks and Portis contributed nine points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes in his first outing in six-plus weeks. "I'm very thankful that Kris and Bobby got to play and then got through the game," Boylen told reporters. "I thought they each showed a spurt of what they can bring for us and I'm very excited about that."ABOUT THE MAGIC (12-15):
Orlando posted a season-low point total while being thrashed 101-76 by the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. The Magic lacked aggressiveness while matching the franchise low of five free-throw attempts and the usually reliable Vucevic scored a season-worst eight points on 4-of-15 shooting despite collecting 16 rebounds. "It was probably my worst game in a little while," Vucevic told reporters. "I didn't play well at all and I have to be better, especially on the offensive end because the team relies on me a lot."BUZZER BEATERS
1. The Bulls have won seven of the past eight meetings.
2. Chicago committed a season-worst 27 turnovers in the loss to Sacramento.
3. Orlando rookie C Mo Bamba will return from a one-game suspension for violating team rules, while SG Evan Fournier (personal reasons) is expected to return after sitting out the Dallas game.PREDICTION:
Magic 112, Bulls 105
Stats and Records