Windy City Defeats Top Team in NBA G League, Beat Santa Cruz 120-105
The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, collected their third consecutive win with a 120-105 victory over the Santa Cruz Warriors.
Five Bulls players scored in double figures led by Mychal Mulder who tallied a game-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Walt Lemon Jr. collected his second consecutive double-double and posted a stat line of 21 points, six rebounds, 14 assists and two steals, while JaKarr Sampson netted 19 points and 10 assists for his seventh double-double. Rawle Alkins totaled 13 points and five rebounds and Kaiser Gates pitched in with 12 points and five rebounds of his own.
Deyonta Davis led the charge for Santa Cruz and scored a team-high 24 points to go with 13 rebounds. Antonius Cleveland added 23 points and six rebounds off the bench, while Darius Morris registered 21 points and six assists. Kendrick Nunn pitched in with 17 points in 30 minutes of action.
Sunday's contest featured the NBA G League's number one ranked defense in Santa Cruz who allow just over 100 points per game and Windy City who surrenders 104.4 points, which is the third-best mark. Despite the expected offensive struggle, the Bulls managed to score the game's first six points and made six of their opening 11 shots. Conversely, the Warriors didn't collect their first field goal until the 9:02 mark and shot 25 percent upon the first media timeout. Because of the offensive success, Windy City extended their lead to double figures and led by as many as 18 points in the quarter. In total, the Bulls shot 65 percent from the floor, set a season-high for points scored in the first quarter, and led 39-22 at the end of opening 12 minutes.
To start the second quarter, Gates netted three free throws to extend Windy City's advantage to 20, which served as the largest lead of the afternoon for either team. However, the Warriors cut into the deficit by using an extended 13-5 run to make it a nine-point game. The spurt not only trimmed the Bulls lead to within single digits, but it forced a Windy City timeout with 3:52 remaining in the half. Santa Cruz pulled to within as few as eight points, but that's as far as they would get in the first half. For the period, the Bulls scored just 23 points and were outscored by seven but still maintained a 10-point lead at the half.
Both offenses were a bit stagnate to start the second half as the teams combined to miss their first nine shots before Davis connected on a put back lay in for the Warriors. Santa Cruz eventually totaled the first three points of the third quarter to slice their deficit to seven. Windy City responded by scoring seven of the next nine points to retake a double figure lead. The Bulls ultimately jumped out front by as many as 19 in the quarter as they collectively shot 43 percent in the frame. Windy City outpaced the Warriors by six in the stanza and turned their 10-point halftime lead into an 88-72 advantage heading into the final 12 minutes.
Santa Cruz forged one final run in the fourth quarter and made it a 10-point game on the heels of a 9-3 run, which resulted in a Bulls timeout. Once play resumed, the Warriors drew closer and ultimately made it a 98-94 game, which is as close as they had been since the outset of the contest. However, the run was too little too late as Windy City put the game on ice by posting a 14-2 run in a three-and-a-half-minute span. Both teams shot over 52 percent and scored at least 30 points in the final stanza, but it was Windy City's 10-of-15 shots, including five threes, which lead to a 120-105 final score.
With the win, the Bulls have now defeated the number one team in the Eastern and Western Conference in back-to-back games. Windy City is now 1-1 all-time against Santa Cruz and are two games ahead of Grand Rapids in the Central Division.
Windy City will enjoy three days off before embarking on a two-game road swing beginning in Westchester on Thursday. Tip-off against the Knicks is set for 10am CT inside Westchester County Center.
Fans can stay up-to-date on team news by following the team on Twitter (@WindyCityBulls) or visiting WindyCityBulls.com. Full season membership, group, and single tickets for the 2018-19 Windy City Bulls season are on sale now. For all ticket information and full season schedule, visit WindyCityBulls.com.
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