Windy City Falls Short in Maine, Loses 121-113 to Red Claws
The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, fell 121-113 to the Maine Red Claws on Sunday afternoon inside the Portland Expo Building.
Four Bulls players scored in double figures led by Brandon Sampson who set career-highs in points (32) and field goals (11), while logging a game-high 39 minutes. Walt Lemon Jr. posted a stat line of 26 points, four rebounds, eight assists and two steals, while JaKarr Sampson posted 23 points, nine rebounds and career-high-tying four assists. Rawle Alkins pitched in with 10 points and four rebounds in a reserve role.
Archie Goodwin led the way for Maine, tallying a team-high 27 points in 31 minutes of action off the bench. Two-Way player, RJ Hunter, tallied a near triple-double with 24 points, eight rebounds and nine assists to go with three steals and two blocks, while Andrew White posted 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. PJ Dozier, the Red Claw's second Two-Way player, totaled 16 points, five rebounds and nine assists, while Vitto Brown added 14 points and eight rebounds.
Maine's offense was on automatic to begin the game as they connected on their first four field goals and jumped out to an early 11-4 lead. The Red Claws shot 7-of-8 at the outset of the game and their seven-point advantage swelled to double figures. Windy City trailed by as many as 13 in the opening 12 minutes, but halfway through the period, the Bulls rattled off nine consecutive points to trim their deficit to three. However, Windy City was unbale to draw closer as Maine responded with a 17-7 run of their own to retake a double-digit lead. As a team, the Bulls shot 61 percent led by Lemon Jr. who tallied a team-high 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Windy City closed the quarter by scoring the final seven points, but the Red Claws shot 69 percent and led 40-34 at the end of the first period.
Windy City scored the first eight points of the second quarter and took their first lead at 42-40. Windy City's run not only gave the Bulls their first advantage, but it forced a Red Claws timeout with 9:33 remaining in the half. The stanza consisted of three ties and three lead changes in the 12-minute period. In total, the Bulls outscored Maine 33-17 in the quarter, shot 59 percent in the half and led 67-57 at the intermission.
The Red Claws opened the second half by scoring nine of the first 11 points of the quarter. The run pulled Maine to within three, which is the closest they'd been since the 2:59 mark of the second period. Despite the run, Windy City maintained their advantage and captured their largest lead of the afternoon at 14 on an Alkins lay in. The Bulls sizeable lead didn't last long as the Red Claws closed the period on an extended 16-6 run. Maine outpaced Windy City by six in the stanza, which made it a 90-86 game heading into the final 12 minutes.
The Bulls tallied the first points in the fourth quarter as Brandon Sampson connected on a pair of free throws. Windy City's six-point lead quickly evaporated as Maine totaled 12 of the next 14 points. The run allowed the Red Claws to retake the lead for good in addition to forcing a Bulls timeout with 7:45 left to play in the game. Windy City managed to get to within one point with just over three minutes remaining, but were unable to recapture the lead. Maine used a late game 10-2 run to seal the game and secure their 16th win of the season.
With the loss, Windy City falls to 4-4 all-time against the Red Claws. However, the Bulls own a one and a half game lead over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for the top spot in the central division.
The Bulls will have Monday off before concluding their short two-game road trip on Tuesday in Sioux Falls. Tip-off against the Skyforce is set for 5:30pm CT inside the Sanford Pentagon.
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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