(Photo credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Even as a seemingly comfortable second-half lead evaporated, the Orlando Magic felt in control of Wednesday's eventual last-second road victory against the Chicago Bulls.
"Obviously, we would like to maybe save the dramatics at the end of the game, but a win is a win," said Orlando's Paolo Banchero, whose fadeaway jumper with 1.4 seconds left sealed a 96-94 victory. "We're just learning how to win, man. That's the motto right now."
The Magic hope to apply those lessons Friday when they visit the Bulls again, this time in East Group C play of the NBA in-season tournament.
Orlando is aiming for its fourth straight road victory in the series with Chicago.
The latest win came despite a 39 percent shooting night that included an 8-for-28 effort from 3-point range.
"I loved our guys' resolve at the end, understanding we've been in these scenarios before and it's why we do the two-minute drills," Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. "Did it go perfectly? No, but that's what the will of this team is -- they find a way."
Orlando and Chicago are 0-1 in group play with three games remaining. The Bulls, however, are ahead of the Magic by point differential, losing to Brooklyn by two points compared to Orlando's 20-point loss to the Nets on Tuesday.
The Bulls are hoping better shooting and ball security can boost them against the Magic.
Chicago entered Wednesday as the league leader in fewest turnovers and committed fewer than 10 turnovers in consecutive games before the Bulls' matchup vs. the Magic.
Orlando forced Chicago into 19 turnovers and 39.8 percent shooting. Zach LaVine scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter, Nikola Vucevic added 17 points and nine rebounds and Alex Caruso chipped in 16 points in his return from a two-game absence with a left toe strain.
Still, the Bulls looked uneven in long stretches without second-leading scorer DeMar DeRozan, who missed the game due to a personal issue and whose status is questionable for Friday's game.
After scoring just 33 points in the first half, the lowest output in the NBA this season, Chicago found a spark down the stretch. Still, LaVine said players aren't satisfied with the team's overall effort in the first three weeks of the season.
"You can call it whatever you want; we're not getting the job done," LaVine said. "The only thing you can do is keep chipping away and look for the next game to get better, and that's the mindset: You need to try to win the next game. We're doing our best with the film and practice. We just have to do a better job of it, and obviously we are not getting the results we want. So, people are frustrated."
Orlando had five scorers in double figures on Wednesday compared to four for the Bulls. Banchero led the Magic with 17 points, while Cole Anthony had 16 off the bench.
Gary Harris returned to the lineup after missing the past five games with a strained right groin. Markelle Fultz will miss his fourth straight game with left knee tendinitis.
--Field Level Media