HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL – The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, dropped their third consecutive game in a 104-93 loss to the Grand Rapids Drive on Tuesday night at Sears Centre Arena.
Five Windy City players scored in double figures led by Tyler Harris who tallied 16 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Jarell Eddie, CJ Fair and Mychal Mulder all tallied 15 points and Eddie grabbed 10 rebounds for his second career double-double. Ryan Arcidiacono shot 2-of-13 from the floor, but dished out 15 assists, which is one shy of his personal best and the franchise-high. Jaylen Johnson added 11 points and three rebounds off the bench and Alex Hamilton pitched in with seven points and four assists.
Grand Rapids got off to a good start and poured in the first four baskets of the game to take an early 9-0 lead. After starting the game 0-for-5, Harris scored back-to-back baskets to put the Bulls on the board, which forced a quick timeout by the Drive. Following the stoppage, Windy City used an additional 12-2 spurt to take a four-point lead, while holding the Drive scoreless for nearly six minutes. In a quarter where offense was limited, Harris had the hot hand for the Bulls, scoring six points and adding five rebounds in the opening 12 minutes. Both teams shot under 35 percent and combined to score 29 points in the period, but at the end of the opening stanza, the Bulls led by three, 16-13.
Three Drive players tallied double-doubles led by Landry Nnoko who poured in a game-high 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his 27th double-double of the season. KJ McDaniels scored 17 points and added 12 rebounds and Kenneth Smith posted 13 points and 11 assists off the bench. Reggie Hearn and Jamel Morris scored 12 points apiece, while Kay Felder scored two points in 12 minutes.
The second quarter featured early runs for both teams. Johnson and Wood scored back-to-back baskets to start the second period and Windy City extended the lead to seven, their largest of the evening. However, Grand Rapids responded with a 13-0 run of their own to take a 26-20 advantage with just under eight minutes to play in the half. After rattling off six quick points, the Bulls tied the game at 26, but it was the Drive who took control and used an 11-2 run to close the half. For the second consecutive quarter, Windy City failed to crack the 20-point mark and as a result they trailed 41-32 at the intermission.
Coming out of halftime, Grand Rapids scored six of the first nine points and extended their lead to double figures, but Windy City quickly countered with a mini 5-0 run to trim the lead to five. The third period was the Bulls best quarter as they shot over 60 percent from the floor, while outscoring the Drive by 10. Mulder was the spark plug, scoring 12 of his 15 points in the quarter, including consecutive baskets to make it a one-point game. With 2:37 left to play in the period, Fair knocked in a jumper to give Windy City a 64-63 lead, their first since they led 28-26 in the second quarter. The final two minutes featured seven lead changes, but on the strength of two more baskets by Mulder, the Bulls led by one at the end of the quarter.
The final 12 minutes belonged to Grand Rapids as they shot 50 percent from the floor and scored 34 points in the period. Wood made an early fourth quarter jump shot to give the Bulls a two-point lead, but the Drive used a 13-0 run to take the lead for good. McDaniels served as the closer, scoring 12 points in the period. Windy City managed to trim the lead to seven on a couple occasions, but were unable to draw closer as they shot 30 percent in the fourth quarter. Grand Rapids now has 27 wins this season and are one win away from clinching a playoff spot.
With the loss, Windy City is officially eliminated from playoff contention and have lost three of the four head-to-head meetings with Grand Rapids this season. The Bulls will hit the road on Friday to face the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for their final away game of the season.
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