The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, had their franchise-record nine-game winning streak snapped in a 120-96 loss to the Greensboro Swarm on Saturday night at Sears Centre Arena.
Five Bulls players scored in double figures led by Brandon Sampson who posted a team-high 23 points to go with eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. CJ Fair tallied 20 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks, while Walt Lemon Jr. added 15 points, four rebounds and six assists. Mychal Mulder and Rawle Alkins pitched in with 11 points apiece.
Greensboro was short-handed as they were without the services of Two-Way player JP Macura. In his absence, Jaylen Barford stepped up and poured in a game-high 25 points to go with six rebounds and two steals. Tyler Nelson collected 21 points and shot 4-of-6 from three in a reserve role, while Sam Thompson had 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. The Swarm’s second Two-Way player, Joe Chealey scored 14 points and Luke Petrasek totaled 11 points and nine rebounds.
It was all Greensboro at the start as they collected the first four baskets of the game and jumped out to an early 9-0 lead. Windy City began the contest 3-for-11 and didn’t tally their first points until the 8:53 mark. The Swarm quickly extended their lead to double figures and the Bulls deficit swelled to 21 on a put back layup by Roscoe Smith. Greensboro led by as many as 22 points and shot 53 percent in the first quarter. Conversely, Windy City made just five field goals and trailed 36-14 at the end of the opening 12 minutes.
Windy City found their rhythm to start the second quarter as they rattled off nine straight points and trimmed the lead to 13 on an old-fashioned three-point play by Jon Octeus. The momentum didn’t last long as Greensboro responded with eight quick points of the own to up their lead to 21, which forced a Windy City timeout with 7:46 remaining. In a three-minute span, the Bulls cut the lead to 10 and pulled to within eight on a free throw by Lemon Jr., but unable to inch closer. After scoring just 14 points in the first quarter, Windy City shot 60 percent in the second and posted 36 points in the period. The Bulls outscored Greensboro by 10 and trailed 62-50 at the intermission.
The Bulls collected the first basket of the second half to make it a 62-53 game, but from that point on it was all Greensboro. They retook a 21-point lead on a three-point shot by Thompson, which forced a Bulls at timeout with 2:58 remaining in the period. Windy City made one final run to end the quarter as they scored the final seven points of the frame. Despite the strong close to the quarter, Greensboro outscored the Bulls by two and led 84-70 heading into the final 12 minutes.
Sampson asserted himself in the fourth quarter as he tallied the first six Bulls points to pull Windy City within eight, but that is as close as they’d get. Greensboro responded with eight points of their own to retake a 14-point lead and stretched their advantage to 20 once more. The Swarm led by as many as 30 points in the period as they shot over 60 percent in the final period. Greensboro outscored Windy City by 12 in both halves, leading to a 120-96 victory, which snapped their four-game losing streak.
The 24-point margin of defeat is the largest of the season, eclipsing the 21-point loss to Fort Wayne on Dec. 1. Additionally, the 124 points is the most the Bulls have surrendered since allowing 125 points to Grand Rapids in the second game of the season.