Strus, Windy City Big Men Hold Back the Charge, 111-97
The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the official G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, visited the Canton Charge at Memorial Civic Center Friday night and improved to 2-1 on the season with a 111-97 win.
The game marked the first professional contest for Bol Bol, the highly-touted 44th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft who has been assigned to Windy City as a Two-Way player by the Denver Nuggets.
The Bulls controlled the first quarter as they often have this season, via strong defense and transition scores.. Windy City's big man combination of Daniel Gafford, who was playing on assignment from Chicago, and Bol, proved to be a problem for the Charge throughout the opening half. While Gafford repeatedly threw down lob passes for dunks, Bol rejected shots on the defensive end to spark breaks.
Gafford finished the first half with 12 points and nine rebounds, as the Bulls took advantage of a wide-open paint, dominating down low to record six blocks, and lead points in the paint 28-20 over the first 24 minutes.
However, each time Windy City extended their lead into double digits, Canton came charging back, led by Dean Wade and J.P Macura, who both got hot from long range, combining to knock down 5-of-8 shots from behind the arc in the first half.
Sir'Dominic Pointer also chipped-in for Canton, defending well with two steals and two blocks, and dropping in ten points to go with four rebounds.
The first half belonged to the Bulls' Max Strus who got going early and often, leading Windy City to a 60-47 halftime lead by drilling multiple contested threes on his way to 16 points, four rebounds, and four assists.
It was more of the same for the Bulls in the third quarter when a quick bucket by Strus and a three by Adam Mokoka quickly pushed the Windy City lead to 18.
Yet another alley-oop to Gafford, a spike swat from Bol Bol, and a three-point shot by Milton Doyle, sparked the Bulls to outscore the Charge 30-21 in the third, and open up a 90-68 lead.
The talent on the floor for Windy City ultimately proved to be too much for Canton to handle, with four Two-Way players for the Bulls, and the NBA experience of Gafford and Milton Doyle.
Contending with that talent, compounded by a poor shooting night (.381 from the field & .281 from three), meant the Charge were unable to muster much of a counter-attack in the fourth quarter.
Windy City however had no issues generating offense as Strus hit five three-point shots, to finish the night with 29 points, four assists, five rebounds, and two steals.
Gafford threw down most of his 20 points with two hands on the rim. He also pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds to guide the Bulls to their second victory of the season, 111-97.
Bol had an excellent effort in returning to game action after a long layoff. The 7'2" center finished the game with eight points, nine rebounds, and four blocks in 17 minutes.
Leading the way for Canton was Pointer with 22 points, four rebounds, four blocks, and five steals on 9-of-16 shooting, and Dean Wade who posted 18 points and eight boards.
Windy City continues its weekend road trip when the team travels to take on the Long Island Nets at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
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