Derrick Rose scored 22 points despite two stomach ulcers, Luol Deng added 26, and the Bulls beat Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic 99-90 on Friday night.So are the Bulls, who won for the ninth time in 11 games even though Howard scored a season-high 40 points. They took the lead with a big third quarter and then held off a late push by Orlando.The Magic cut it to 93-90 after Howard scored, stole a pass and fed Gilbert Arenas for a layup. Deng then scored down low with 1:22 left, and Rose hit four free throws the rest of the way, sealing the win.Deng had 14 in the third as the Bulls doubled up the Magic 34-17, turning a five-point halftime deficit into an 80-68 lead.Carlos Boozer added 16 points and 16 rebounds, helping the Bulls avenge an earlier blowout at home by Orlando.It was a rough night for the Magic even though Howard was at his best.He was five shy of his career scoring high while pulling down 15 rebounds, but Orlando simply came up short against the Central Division leaders. It hit just 5-of-21 3-pointers with the Bulls fixated on defending the perimeter, even if that meant letting Howard go wild, and got outrebounded 54-40. Howard had some fun at his point guard’s expense, calling him Jameer Cutler after the game. He wasn’t so amused by the effort on defense, particularly when the Bulls hit 13-of-21 shots in the third.Rose was off target, hitting just 6-of-21 shots. Even so, he finished with 12 assists as the Bulls beat the Magic for just the seventh time in 20 games.Even with their star ailing, the Bulls got some measure of revenge for what Orlando did to them the last time they visited the United Center. It wasn’t quite as lopsided as that 107-78 pounding in December.
NOTES—Orlando’s Stan Van Gundy likes what he’s seeing from the Bulls in their first year under Thibodeau. “I think that there’s a handful of guys — probably three or four — that at the halfway point would have to be considered Coach of the Year,” Van Gundy said. “And he’d have to be right up there with anybody.”……Saturday’s game against Indiana will be the 12th in 21 days for the Bulls.