SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The Windy City Bulls, presented by BMO Harris Bank, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, collected their 22nd win of the season in a 116-111 victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Wednesday night inside the Sanford Pentagon.
Walt Lemon Jr. led the way for Windy City, tallying a team-high 25 points to go along with six rebounds, nine assists and two steals. In his return to the Bulls, Mychal Mulder scored 22 points on four made three-pointers, while JaKarr Sampson collected a stat line of 19 points, career-high 17 rebounds, two assists and season-high-tying three blocks. CJ Fair posted 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting and Thomas Wilder pitched in with 11 points, five assists and two steals in a reserve role.
Sioux Falls was shorthanded as they were without the services of both Two-Way players, Duncan Robinson and Yante Maten. Rodney Purvis picked the slack and poured in a game-high 31 points accompanied by five assists and three steals. Charles Cooke, who also returned from the 2019 FIBA World Cup, totaled 23 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Duke Mondy added 20 points and seven assists. Emmanuel posted his sixth double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Raphiael Putney had six points and 11 rebounds.
Wednesday’s matchup featured the second-highest scoring offense in Sioux Falls, who average 117.3 points per game and Windy City, who surrender 104.3 points, which is the third-best mark in the G League. The Skyforce opened the game by tallying the first five points, but the Bulls quickly turned the tide and responded with 11 consecutive points of their own. Both teams combined to shoot 12-of-16 in the opening 4:14, and with the hot offensive start, Windy City was able to extend their lead to double figures. As a team, Windy City shot 48 percent in the first period, led by CJ Fair who scored a team-high 11 points in his first start since Feb. 5. Sioux Falls concluded the quarter by scoring six of the final eight points and despite leading by 10, the Bulls advantage was just four at end of the opening 12 minutes.
To start the second quarter, Sioux Falls made four of their first six field goals, which cut Windy City’s lead to one and forced a timeout with 8:35 left in the half. The Bulls withstood the run and upped their lead to nine on a floater by Sampson. Windy City managed to retake a double-digit advantage and their lead eventually swelled to 18 by the end of the quarter. Over the final six minutes, the Bulls outscored the Skyforce by 14 and won the quarter 38-26. The Bulls shot 15-for-26 in the period and thanks to 52 percent shooting in the half, Windy City led 64-48 at the intermission.
Sioux Falls mounted a big run to start the third quarter and used a 14-5 spurt to cut into the Bulls lead. The extended run made it a seven-point game, which resulted in a Windy City timeout at the 6:50 mark. The Skyforce eventually sliced their deficit to six on a couple occasions but were unable to inch closer. In similar fashion to the first, Sioux Falls had a strong close to the third period as they tallied seven of the final eight points in the frame. With 15 seconds remaining in the stanza, Jarvis Threatt scored on a driving layup, which made it 83-77 game heading into the final 12 minutes.
The Skyforce made it an 83-80 game after nailing a three-pointer to start the final quarter. Sioux Falls trimmed the Bulls lead to one on two separate junctures, but never managed to tie or retake the lead. With exactly seven minutes on the clock, Lemon Jr. embarked on a streak in which he scored the Bulls next seven points and Windy City owned a five-point lead with 5:20 left to play in the contest. Windy City led for the final 45 minutes of the game and handed Sioux Falls their fourth straight loss with a 116-111 final score.
Windy City has won two consecutive games against Sioux Falls and are 2-1 all-time against the Skyforce. The Bulls are 5-3 against the Western Conference this season, with one out-of-conference game remaining. With the win, Windy City is now two games ahead of the Grand Rapids Drive for the top spot in the central division.