NBA: Magic hand Bulls fourth straight loss

(REUTERS) - The Chicago Bulls have fallen, and they cannot seem to get up. And the play-offs are slipping away.

The Bulls lost badly for the second consecutive night, 102-89 to the Orlando Magic, and never seriously challenged after a woeful start in another poor defensive performance.

Chicago (30-30) lost their fourth consecutive game and their seventh straight on the road. If the play-offs started today, the Bulls would be home watching for the first time in eight seasons.

"This is foreign territory for me," said Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who led the Bulls with 16 points and six assists.

"There are no excuses. It's all about the goals of the team. We said in pre-season we wanted to be in the play-offs, but the question is now, are we trying to do that? I'm trying to figure that out. If we are, we have to start playing differently."

Rose, who recently returned from a hamstring injury, played only eight minutes in the second half and failed to score.

"It's frustrating, and things don't look too good right now," said centre Pau Gasol, who had 12 points and five rebounds.

The Bulls were without starting forward Taj Gibson, who missed his first game of the season with a sore hamstring suffered on Tuesday in a lopsided loss in Miami. They also have been playing without centre Joakim Noah (left shoulder strain) and guard Jimmy Butler (left knee).

The Magic (27-33) led from start to finish in a surprisingly easy victory.

Centre Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and seven rebounds. Rookie Mario Hezonja had a career-high 21 points and hit three of his seven three-point attempts.

Orlando had 17 points and seven rebounds from Victor Oladipo. Aaron Gordon had 13 points and 15 rebounds. Elfrid Payton had nine points and 12 assists.

"I think overall, it was a step forward for us," Magic coach Scott Skiles said. "I think our overall energy was good. We had a much more aware game."

For the Bulls, it was the 15th straight game in which they surrendered 100 points or more. They gave up 129 points to the Heat in Miami on Tuesday.