<
>

Bulls a game ahead of Wizards for 4th in East

CHICAGO (AP) -- Eddy Curry is done for the season, but the Bulls
don't show any signs of slowing down.

Rookies Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni each scored 17 points to
lead Chicago to a 117-77 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday
night as the Bulls had their largest victory margin of the season.

On Thursday, Chicago learned that leading scorer Curry will miss
the rest of the season with an irregular heartbeat. He will also be
missing the team's first playoff appearance since 1998.

The Bulls are 7-3 without Curry since he felt dizzy and
lightheaded right before tip-off for a game in Charlotte.

Chicago forward Tyson Chandler thought the news on Curry didn't
have a major effect on the rest of the team.

"I don't think it was bothering us, to tell you the truth. Not
to down play the situation, but I felt like everybody was playing
for him, regardless, and I think everybody will continue to do
that, especially myself," Chandler said.

Chandler is disappointed that Curry won't be able to play in the
postseason with him. Both were drafted by the Bulls in 2001 out of
high school.

"It's our fourth year and we waited to be in this situation,
it's a shame he is not going to be (there)."

Curry started 60 games for the Bulls this season, averaging 16.1
points and shooting 54 percent in nearly 29 minutes per game.

With the win, Chicago remained one game ahead of Washington for
fourth place and home-court advantage in the first round of the
Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Bulls, who ended their two-game losing streak, have won 13
of their last 16 games.

They bounced back from a 93-82 loss at Washington on Wednesday
night with their biggest victory margin of the season. In
Wednesday's loss they didn't have Nocioni, who was serving a
one-game suspension for elbowing Detroit's Tayshaun Prince on
Monday night. The Bulls also played most of the game without
Chandler on Wednesday after he was ejected in the opening minutes
for stepping on Washington's Brendan Haywood.

"I just think it was about us being mature enough and coming
out realizing how important this game was," said Antonio Davis.
"We have to establish our momentum. We have another one (Atlanta)
tomorrow."

The Bulls never trailed and made quick work of the Magic.
Nocioni, who had eight rebounds, scored on a driving layup to give
the Bulls a 13-3 lead. Chris Duhon extended it to 18-7 on a
3-pointer. Chicago led 24-11 at the end of the first quarter as
Duhon scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

Duhon hit a 3 and extended Chicago's lead to 40-20 with 7:53
left in the second quarter.

"I thought we were really sharp with the game plan tonight. We
felt like we could get into the middle of the floor and make some
plays against them. Right from the jump ball we were attempting to
do that," said Bulls coach Scott Skiles.

Duhon tied a career-high with 17 points and Chandler had 12
points and 14 rebounds.

The Magic continued their late-season collapse and have lost six
straight. Steve Francis led the Magic with 16 points, while DeShawn
Stevenson and Stacey Augmon each added 15.

"It was just horrible watching it from a player's standpoint,"
said rookie Dwight Howard. "I think it was effort. I don't think
we gave 100 percent effort. We can't have mental lapses like that
to be a good team in the long run."

Kirk Hinrich hit a 3 and Jannero Pargo hit a jumper to give
Chicago a 92-63 lead early in the fourth quarter. Duhon extended
the lead with a breakaway layup, making it 98-65.

Game notes
Chicago was 3-0 against Orlando this season and swept the
Magic for the first time since 1996-97. ... Magic forward Pat
Garrity rolled his knee in the fourth quarter and was helped off
the floor. He did not return. ... The Magic's worst defeat in
franchise history was a 135-92 loss at Golden State on Nov. 16,
2002. ... Pargo tied his career high with nine assists. ... The
40-point win was Chicago's largest since a 111-69 victory over the
Spurs on May 5, 1997.