Magic-Bulls Preview

The Chicago Bulls should have all of their best players available for the first time with Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson expected to return Tuesday night.

The winless Orlando Magic can't be happy to hear that.

Chicago tries to continue its recent success against the visiting Magic, who are on the verge of the second-worst start in franchise history.

After working his way back from two serious knee injuries, Rose gave Bulls fans a scare when he sprained his ankle in Friday's 114-108 overtime loss to Cleveland. Gibson is also dealing with an ankle injury, and both missed Saturday's 106-105 win at Minnesota.

Jimmy Butler led short-handed Chicago (2-1) with 24 points in his season debut after sitting out with a sprained thumb.

"What a way to kick off the season," said Butler, who made the winning free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining. "I'm happy we got the W. They are hard to come by. On to the next one."

Butler went 6 of 12 from the floor and 11 of 15 from the line, finishing one made free throw shy of his career high.

"He was great throughout the game," coach Tom Thibodeau told the team's official website. "He's doing everything; he is guarding, he is scoring, he is making tough plays. He guards everyone, he is physical, he doesn't say boo. He works hard, he plays for the team and he plays to win. He played a great game. He has big-time toughness."

Butler could take a back seat to Rose, who scored 20 points in 25 minutes against the Cavaliers before exiting. He said he could have played Saturday but opted to sit out.

"Felt all right," Rose said. "If there was a real need for me to play, I think I could have played. Just trying to be smart, trying to give it an extra day and thank God we came out with the win. I believe in my teammates, believe in the team."

The Magic (0-3) are trying to stay upbeat despite averaging 92.3 points. They haven't dropped their first four since opening a franchise-worst 0-6 in 1990-91, their second season in the league.

"It's real frustrating. We come in, we're playing pretty good defense, we just don't seem to be able to close it out," forward Tobias Harris said. "It's early, but it's something that we're going to have to get better at. Execute a little bit better and step it up offensively."

The Magic are coming off Saturday's 108-95 loss to Toronto, their seventh in a row dating to April. Orlando held the Raptors to 39.8 percent shooting but was outrebounded 50-40.

The Magic have been outscored 96-64 in the third quarter.

"The issue is that we just don't do it for 48 minutes," center Nikola Vucevic said. "We do it in spurts. ... We can't allow ourselves to do that."

Orlando has been limited to an average of 90.1 points during a 2-11 stretch against Chicago. Bulls center Joakim Noah is averaging 22.0 points, 14.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in the last two meetings.

Orlando plays 15 of its next 20 on the road, where it's gone an NBA-worst 4-38 since the start of last season.

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