ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Derrick Rose had 24 points and Luol Deng added 16 to help the Chicago Bulls hang on for an 89-81 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday night in a matchup of two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls bounced back from one of their worst games of the month against Atlanta on Wednesday to post their eighth victory in 10 games. Orlando’s loss snapped a four-game winning streak, and a five-game run against the Bulls at home.
Dwight Howard led Orlando with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but also picked up his 16th technical of the season. He faces a one-game suspension Monday night against Portland if the foul is not rescinded by the NBA. Jason Richardson and Brandon Bass each chipped in 16 points.
Golf star Tiger Woods, basketball Hall of Famers Julius Irving and Karl Malone, and Baltimore Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin were among the franchise-record crowd of 19,207.
Chicago ends a five-game road trip Sunday at Miami.
The Bulls held as much as a 16-point cushion in the third quarter, but led 65-57 entering the fourth.
The Magic closed the gap to 72-65 on a floater by Jameer Nelson with 7:09 to play. Rose then responded with three-point play off a steal to put the Bulls back up by 10 at the 6:25 mark.
After Howard missed a pair of free throws, Kyle Korver nailed a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring to make it 78-67.
The Magic got within 81-72 on a short jumper by J.J. Redick with 2:23 left, but another 3 by Korver pushed it back to 86-73 with only 1:06 remaining to leave Orlando scrambling the rest of the way.
The Bulls outscored the Magic 28-18 in the second quarter to take a 49-35 advantage into halftime.
But it’s what occurred with 1:41 left in the half that will likely linger in Magic fans’ minds in the coming days.
Howard, who leads the NBA in technicals this season, was whistled for another one.
With the Bulls leading 43-29, Howard was hit on the top of his head by Korver as Howard came down with an offensive rebound.
Korver was whistled for a foul, but took a swipe at the ball moments after the play. That prompted Howard to swing his elbows. Referee Ed Malloy stepped in to separate them and also called a technical on Howard.
If the call is upheld following a review by the league, Howard would be suspended for Orlando’s next game against Portland on Monday night. He also would be fined $5,000.
The play overshadowed another solid first half from Howard, who had eight points on 4-of-4 shooting and seven rebounds in the opening 24 minutes.
Rose led all scorers with 15 first-half points. Bass topped the Magic with 14 points, connecting on all six of his shots.
The Magic opened the game on a 15-7 spurt that included seven points by Richardson, prompting a Chicago timeout at the 6:08 mark.
But Richardson got only two more shot attempts the rest of the quarter, missing them both.
Howard had six points, but it didn’t stop the Bulls from outscoring the Magic 14-7 the rest of the way. Rose was the spark for Chicago during the surge and led all scorers with 10 first-quarter points.
NOTES: The Bulls outrebounded the Magic 50-30. … After connecting on 16 of 29 3-point attempts in Thursday’s win over Miami, Orlando was only 6 for 23 from beyond the arc.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.