Tim Thomas is a fan of saying basketball is basketball, which might be another way of saying if you need him, he will be hanging at the three-point line.
But Thomas and the Bulls did make the game look ridiculously easy Tuesday night at the United Center with an impressive 120-102 victory over the powerhouse Magic.That's what season-high 56.5 percent shooting can do, of course, with Thomas scoring his 17 points in 24 quick minutes.
The Bulls also came within two points of tying their season high for points and established a high with 48 field goals.
"This is a great win against a great team," Thomas said in an on-court interview afterward. "When you play hard, good things happen."
Derrick Rose's 22 points led the Bulls. Ben Gordon added 20 as seven players, including all five starters, hit double figures.
The victory over the Eastern Conference's second-best road team featured a balanced attack between starters and substitutes, the depth added from last week's trades already bearing fruit.
Thomas' three-pointer with 10 minutes 14 seconds remaining kick-started an 18-8 run that featured John Salmons scoring seven of his 11 points, Thomas tallying five and Brad Miller adding a layup.
Salmons played the entire fourth quarter at the expense of Luol Deng, who did enter for the final 2:45 to replace Thomas. Miller tallied nine points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes.
"We had a real good solid performance from start to finish," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We had great ball movement, especially in the first half. And the new guys, Tim, John and Brad, spaced the court for us. Those vets know how to play. We had very good flow and rhythm offensively."
The Bulls also were aggressive in going at Dwight Howard down the stretch, entering the bonus with nearly seven minutes left and putting the All-Star center in foul trouble.
The Bulls shot a sizzling 58.7 percent in taking a 63-54 halftime lead, tying a season high for first-half points. At one point, the Bulls scored on eight straight possessions.
In the third, Orlando pulled within 71-64 on a four-point possession that featured a flagrant foul on Gordon. He came down hard across Courtney Lee's neck and shoulders on a semi-breakaway. Howard then added a vicious dunk on the extra possession.
And the league's most prolific three-point-shooting team kept on firing, pulling to 83-82 after a 10-2 run.
Rose, however, closed the quarter with a layup and pull-up jumper, continuing his theme this night of making shots at critical junctures.
Miller drew guffaws from the bench when he stole a cross-court pass during the second quarter and huffed and puffed his way to a breakaway dunk, barely clearing the rim.
The Bulls cleared a bigger hurdle in knocking off the Magic.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times