The ArronAfflalo4.com countdown of Arron's Top 5 games of his first year in Orlando continues with No. 4.
No. 4: November 6, 2012 vs. Chicago Bulls
The Orlando Magic began their first road trip of the season flying high after back-to-back wins to start the year at home.
But that road trip brought about Orlando's first true challenge of the season when they visited Chicago to take on the Bulls.
Arron was more than up to the challenge, posting a then season-high 28 points on 10-of-17 from the field while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists. But his excellent effort came up just short of delivering an Orlando victory, as the Magic dropped their first game of the season, 99-93.
Playing just their third game of the regular season, the contest with the Bulls was the first game to showcase both the strengths that made the Magic successful in their first two games and the weaknesses that would plague them throughout the rest of the season.
As they often did as the season rolled on, Orlando fell behind the eight ball early, but mounted a comeback. They struggled to knock down shots in the early stages of the game and fell behind by as many as eight, but the Magic finished the opening quarter on an 11-2 run to take a one-point lead into the second quarter.
"They're an underrated team," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "I feel like they've got a lot of offensive firepower, they spread the floor."
The teams fought back and fourth early in the second, but the Magic seized control shortly after Arron returned to the game. His jumper with 8:21 remaining in the half tied the score at 28 and he followed with a trey just over a minute later to give Orlando a three-point edge. He added two assists late in the quarter, helping to push the Magic lead to as much as six, and they settled into a three-point halftime edge.
But it wasn't until the third quarter that Arron got hot. The Bulls put together an early run out of the break to take a three-point lead just over four minutes into the quarter. But Arron went on to score nine of the next 17 points in the game, capped when he drew a foul on a three-point attempt and sank all three free throws. Those three points pushed Orlando out a seven-point advantage.
Arron came out shortly thereafter and by the end of the third, Orlando's lead has been cut to two points. The Magic's problems snowballed from there and the start of the fourth eerily resembled the start of the first while the Magic failed to make shots and the Bulls ran out ahead. For the first six-and-a-half minutes of the fourth, Orlando shot just 1-of-8 from the field and 2-of-5 from the stripe while Chicago built an eight-point lead. Arron ended the drought with a trey and made three more buckets in the final 1:15 of the game to try and will the Magic back, but the deficit accumulated in those early minutes of the fourth proved too large and the Bulls salted away the win at the free throw line.
Afterward Arron, who scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half, pointed to those minutes as a turning point in the contest.
"Our lull offensively gave them an opportunity to hit some shots in the fourth quarter," Afflalo said. "It's unfortunate, because it was a game I thought we could have won."