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Bulls vs. Magic preview: Short-handed Bulls welcome tanking Magic to United Center

As decimated as they are, the Bulls can't lose to the tanking Magic at home, can they?


Playing on the second of a back-to-back without seemingly half a roster would normally seem like a really awful proposition, but the Bulls actually may not be in too bad of shape when the Magic come to the United Center on Friday night. First of all, the Bulls have shown the ability to bounce back and play well in these situations before (think the beat down of the Hawks after losing to the Nets back in February).

And second, the Magic are tanking hard.

Orlando has lost nine straight on the road and 11 of 12 games overall as they hurtle toward one of the top picks in this year's upcoming draft. That of course was one of the goals when they decided to trade Dwight Howard. While the Magic got some nice pieces back in that trade (namely Arron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless), there was little chance they were ever going to be anything but awful this year. And that has certainly been the case.

The Magic also made one of the bigger deadline moves, trading J.J. Redick and parts for Tobias Harris, Beno Udrih and Doron Lamb. Harris was getting very little playing time in Milwaukee, but he has shown some really nice promise since being dealt to Orlando. In 21 games since the trade, he's averaging 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds. Not too shabby for the 20-year-old.

On the injury front, Afflalo is out for the year with a hamstring problem and starting point guard Jameer Nelson won't play with a bum ankle. I haven't seen any update on the Bulls' injuries yet, but I'm just going to assume the status quo. So no Rose, Rip, Noah, Belinelli or Gibson. But if the Bulls play halfway decent at all, they should be fine. Now that I said that, they'll probably lay an egg.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. CT and the game will be on CSN Chicago. For more on the Magic, check out Orlando Pinstriped Post.