The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, had their four-game winning streak snapped in a 113-92 loss to the Grand Rapids Drive on Saturday night at Sears Centre Arena.
Five Bulls players scored in double figures led by JaKarr Sampson who collected his fourth consecutive double-double and tallied 21 points, 11 rebounds and two assists on 10-of-20 shooting. Chicago Bulls assignee, Antonio Blakeney tallied a double-double of his own and had 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Kaiser Gates totaled 15 points in his third start of the season. Mychal Mulder added 12 points and four assists and Thomas Wilder pitched in with 10 points in a reserve role.
Kalin Lucas led the way for Grand Rapids as he poured in a game-high 35 points and seven rebounds on 13 made field goals. Johnny Hamilton totaled 22 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while Marcus Thornton notched 19 points and 10 rebounds. Zach Lofton had 11 points and the Drive’s second Two-Way player, Isaiah Whitehead finished the game with nine points and six assists.
Windy City got off to a slow start offensively, making three of their first 10 shots in the opening four minutes of the contest. Grand Rapids led 10-6 upon the first media timeout and upped their lead to as many as six in the first quarter. For the second consecutive night, Sampson served as the offensive catalyst, tallying nine points and six rebounds in the period. The Drive’s lead didn’t last long as the Bulls tied the game at 19 and took their first lead of the night on a driving layup by Alkins. Despite the brief lead, Windy City managed just eight field goals, shot 12 percent from three and trailed 27-23 at the end of the opening 12 minutes.
Both team’s struggles to score continued as they combined to shoot 6-for-19 to start the second quarter. Beachem sparked the offense as he accounted for four of the Bulls first eight points and tied the game at 31 on a three-pointer. The deadlock was short-lived as Grand Rapids rattled off eight consecutive points to take their largest lead of the first half. Windy City totaled just 21 points in the second period and for the second consecutive quarter, they were outscored by four. The Bulls held the Drive to 37 percent shooting but shot 2-of-15 from three, which resulted in a 52-44 deficit at the intermission.
The Bulls collected the first points of the second half, but Grand Rapids pushed their lead to nine after outscoring the Windy City 12-7 to start the period. The Drive eventually extended their lead to double figures and stretched their lead to 13. Hamilton and Lucas led the charge totaling 15 of the Drive’s 35 third quarter points. Conversely, Windy City had their most productive quarter scoring 30 points, but were still outpaced by five points in the frame. Grand Rapids shot 53 percent in the period and led 87-74 heading into the final 12 minutes.
Grand Rapids took complete control in the fourth quarter as they began the period on a 9-3 run. The Bulls shot 1-of-5 to start the frame and the spurt pushed the Drive’s advantage to. Windy City didn’t go away quietly and pieced together a 10-0 run trimming the to deficit nine with 7:07 to play. However, the Bulls were unable to draw closer as the Drive extended their lead to 20 and ultimately led by 21, which served as the largest lead of the night. Grand Rapids by 13 points in the second half and cruised to their fourth straight win, 113-92.
With the loss, Grand Rapids takes the season series 3-1 and the Bulls have dropped six of their last eight games against the Drive. The 92 points scored is the fewest since totaling 89 points against Long Island on Dec. 12. Additionally, the 113 points are the most the Bulls have allowed since they surrendered 118 on to the Herd on Jan. 23.
Windy City has one final contest Tuesday night before embarking on the 2019 All-Star break. Tip-off again the Wisconsin Herd is set for 7:00pm CT at Sears Centre Arena.
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