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Perfect time to find Magic
Of the 10 players who dressed for the Bulls Tuesday night, two never were drafted and one has played 15 minutes all season.
Linton Johnson, who like Rick Brunson wasn't drafted, isn't even listed in the NBA Register of players.
It seemed that Chris Jefferies--he of the 15 minutes of action--had a better chance of getting recognized on Michigan Avenue than the shorthanded Bulls did of winning.
Talk about Magic.
On a day when the Bulls learned that a bruised left knee will sideline Eddy Curry for two to four weeks, Orlando brought the league's worst record to the United Center.
The Bulls played small ball with the Magic and shot 59 percent against a zone in the second half of a 102-88 victory.
Kendall Gill scored 27 of his game-high 29 points in the second half and Kirk Hinrich added 21 points--his third straight game with a season-high--to lead the Bulls to their second straight victory for the first time this season.
Gill missed three of four shots before halftime but drained all seven third-quarter shots and 12-of-13 in the second half to rally the Bulls. Gill scored six points in a 20-6 third-quarter run that erased a three-point deficit.
Gill also shadowed Tracy McGrady in the second half, when he shot 3-for-12. McGrady scored eight of his 26 points after halftime.
"I feel like I'm 25 every day," said Gill, 35. "I felt like I was 22 today."
Jamal Crawford added 12 points and eight of the Bulls' season-high 36 assists despite shooting 1-for-12 on three-pointers. Marcus Fizer had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The crowd of 18,111 saluted Hinrich's first career double-double with a standing ovation when the rookie point guard fouled out with 4 minutes, 25 seconds remaining. He had 10 assists and six rebounds.
"The guy is a very good point guard already," coach Scott Skiles said. "He does a lot of stuff well. He takes charges. He's on the floor for loose balls. He runs the team. He shoots the ball."
The solid performances almost made everyone forget the injury front.
General manager John Paxson took a pragmatic approach to that situation, which, almost unbelievably, worsened during the game when Eddie Robinson skipped the second half with a sprained left ankle.
"There's nothing you can do but move on," Paxson said. "It puts us in a bad position. Tyson [Chandler] and Eddy are two of the guys we counted in terms of their development.
"Anytime they're out, that sets us back."
Robinson's setback paved the way for Gill but came at an inopportune time for him.
In the doghouse because of Skiles' dissatisfaction with his defense and practice habits, Robinson started and had 10 points and two steals by halftime.
"It's confusing," Robinson said about his role. "I never go to a coach and ask about playing time because I already know what he's going to say: `You have to practice harder.' And I practice hard. So you can't tell me that."
Robinson is day-to-day for Wednesday's game in Detroit. If he can't go, that will give the Bulls nine bodies--familiar territory.