Elfrid Payton discusses the Orlando Magic's 112-94 loss to the Chicago Bulls in this postgame video
CHICAGO — At one point late in the third quarter Wednesday night, as a Chicago Bulls player stood at the free-throw line, Orlando Magic players Evan Fournier, Wes Iwundu, Nikola Vucevic, Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon sat on their bench and stared blankly ahead.
What was unfolding on United Center's court was painful to watch, yet another sign that their season is disintegrating.
The Magic were well on their way to their sixth consecutive loss, a 112-94 defeat to the Chicago Bulls.
Lethargic defense, poor shot selection and terrible shooting — the injury-riddled Magic did it all.
"When you're undermanned, you've got to do more, even more attention to detail," Payton said. "That just wasn't the case tonight."
Asked why the team played so listlessly on defense, Payton responded, "I don't know, man. We've got to figure it out, though, because it'll be another long season if we don't figure it out."
The loss may have been costly, too.
Jonathan Isaac discusses the Orlando Magic's 112-94 loss to the Chicago Bulls in this postgame video
Jonathan Isaac, the Magic's prized rookie forward, aggravated his sore right ankle when he landed awkwardly during the third quarter. Limping as he was running up and down the court, he exited the game with 4:31 to go in the period and spent the rest of the game in the team's locker room.
X-rays revealed no fractures, coach Frank Vogel said.
Isaac sprained the same ankle on Nov. 11 and missed Orlando's next 17 games before he returned to the court Sunday in Detroit.
"I'm going to be fine," Isaac said. "It's not even close to what it was the first time. It's just a little tweak. So I'm OK."
The Magic (11-21) had no reason to take the resurgent Bulls (10-20) lightly.
Chicago entered Wednesday on a six-game winning streak and also had beaten Orlando by 22 points on Nov. 3 at Amway Center.
"We came out aggressive, and we wanted to show that we're rolling now," Chicago's Denzel Valentine said.
Frank Vogel discusses the Orlando Magic's 112-94 loss to the Chicago Bulls in this postgame video
The Magic nonetheless opened Wednesday's game with minimal effort on the defensive end. They employed no physicality, failed to stay in front of people and lacked focus. Vogel burned through two timeouts in the game's first 7 minutes, 32 seconds.
"It was just poor, I think, in every aspect: effort-wise, execution-wise, following the game plan," Vucevic said. "We just didn't bring it tonight on [the defensive] end from the beginning. They started the game 9-0. We made a push back, but we were never really at the level we needed to be to beat a team that's been on a streak like that."
With injuries to Fournier, Gordon and Terrence Ross, the Magic have limited depth, and that lack of depth showed.
The Bulls bridged the end of the first quarter and the start of the second quarter by going on a 19-2 run against a quintet of D.J. Augustin, Shelvin Mack, Arron Afflalo, Isaac and Bismack Biyombo.
The injuries to Fournier, Gordon and Ross have heightened Vucevic's role.
D.J. Augustin discusses the Orlando Magic's 112-94 loss to the Chicago Bulls in this postgame video
Vucevic was off-target with his jumper, scoring 18 points on 8-of-21 shooting.
Vogel called his sixth timeout of the night with 3:22 remaining in the third quarter and Chicago ahead 86-59.
"We've got to play really above ourselves right now to get a win and to have a chance," Vogel said afterward. "We didn't play a great basketball game, and the result is what it is."
The Magic made only 39.3 percent of their shots overall, including a 5-of-27 shooting night from 3-point range.
Augustin made Orlando's first three treys, and Orlando didn't sink another one until Adreian Payne, a power forward on a two-way contract, converted an attempt with 2:40 to go in the fourth quarter.
It was one of the few highlights on an evening marred by lowlights.
"We've just got to do more — do more without doing it in a selfish manner." Payton said. "Doing more doesn't mean necessarily going out there and shooting 30 shots. It's doing more on the defensive end, helping your teammate more, being able to guard your own man more and better. We've just got to do more."