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Magic Vs. Bulls: Orlando Faces Tough Test As Chicago Invades Amway Center

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Orlando has played seven games in the 2011/12 season, but only one against a team that made the playoffs the year prior. That changes Friday when Chicago, a reigning Eastern Conference Finalist, visits.

The Orlando Magic take on the Chicago Bulls on Friday evening in a nationally televised matchup of two of the East's top teams. Tipoff is set for 8 Eastern on ESPN nationally and on Sun Sports in the Orlando market.

Orlando improved to 5-2 in its most recent outing, a 103-85 romp over the hapless Washington Wizards. Starting big men Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson combined for 51 points and 35 rebounds, and the Magic dominated the Wizards in almost every relevant statistical category to cruise to victory.

The Bulls, meanwhile, are riding high in their own right. Behind point guard Derrick Rose, the league's reigning MVP, Chicago has raced to a 6-1 start and has won each of its last five games by an average of 16.2 points.

Orlando went 1-3 against the Bulls during the 2010/11 season, including an April matchup in which the Bulls barely hung on against a spirited Orlando rally in the fourth quarter. Microphones picked up Magic point guard Jameer Nelson telling Rose "see you in the second round," but that never came to pass: the Atlanta Hawks ended the Magic's season in the first round of the playoffs and thus earned the right to face Chicago in the conference semifinals.

For more on the Magic, please visit Orlando Pinstriped Post, SB Nation's Magic blog. For the perspective from the other side, please visit SB Nation Chicago and BlogABull, SB Nation's Bulls blog.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.