HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL – The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, extended their losing streak to six in a 122-117 defeat to the Grand Rapids Drive on Wednesday night at Sears Centre Arena.
Six players, including all five starters scored in double figures. Cameron Payne, who was on assignment from the Chicago Bulls poured in a game-high 29 points to lead all scorers. Antonio Blakeney scored 20 points and added seven rebounds and six assists, while Jarell Eddie scored 16 points and knocked in all four of his three-point shots. Jaylen Johnson and Brandon Wood scored 13 points apiece and Cristiano Felicio, also on assignment, recorded a stat line of 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.
Windy City scored the first four points of the game, but held the lead for just under two minutes. Grand Rapids responded with seven quick points of their own, and led 7-4 at the outset. Johnson and Payne had the hot hand early on as they recorded the Bulls first six baskets and combined for 14 points in the quarter. The Drive grabbed a six-point lead a couple times, but were unable to create separation. Grand Rapids managed to shoot over 50 percent from the floor in the opening period and led 29-26 at the end of the first quarter.
Key Felder recorded his first double-double of the season, scoring a team-high 26 points and dished out 11 assists. Landry Nnoko had a career night, recording 23 points and grabbing 22 rebounds, one rebound shy of the G League high this season, while Brice Johnson, on assignment from the Detroit Pistons, posted a double-double of his own with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Reggie Hearn and Bronson Koenig pitched in with 15 points apiece.
Grand Rapids opened things up, scoring nine of the first 11 points in the second quarter to take a double-digit lead. After seesawing back-and-fourth, the Drive used an additional 6-0 run to take a 16-point lead, their largest of the of the night. However, the Bulls didn’t go away and used a 9-2 spurt of their own to slice the lead to nine. Eddie kept Windy City afloat, scoring 11 points in the quarter, while knocking down all four of his field-goal attempts. Despite the run, the Bulls were unable to cut into the lead further and Grand Rapids led by 11 at half, 59-48.
The Bulls opened the third quarter with back-to-back baskets by Johnson and Felicio within the opening minute and trailed by seven. For every punch Windy City threw, Grand Rapids responded with a counter punch to keep the Bulls at bay. With 5:51 remaining in the third quarter, Felicio threw down a dunk to once again trim the lead to single digits, but the Drive would go on to re-extend the lead to 14 with 90 seconds remaining in the period. Windy City managed to close the quarter strong, scored seven of the final nine, third quarter points, but trailed 90-81 heading into the final 12 minutes.
The first half of the fourth quarter was status quo as Windy City cut the lead to seven on a couple occasions, but were never able to completely reel Grand Rapids in. Trailing by 10 with under nine minutes to play, the Bulls used a sizable 13-5 run to make it a one possession game, the closest they’d been since the score read 16-14 in the first quarter. On the next couple possessions, Felder knocked in back-to-back baskets to extend the lead to six. Windy City made one final late run and made it a three-point game with a three-pointer by Eddie, but it was a little too late as Grand Rapids held on for their 18th win of season.
With the win, Grand Rapids is now .500 and the Windy City fall to a season-low seven games under the even mark. The Bulls continue their six-game home stand with back-to-back games against the Canton Charge on Friday and Saturday at Sears Centre Arena.
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