Tonight’s Windy City Bulls game was a departure from the norm.
Breaking a three-game losing streak, the Windy City Bulls led most of the game by as much as 15 points. The Maine Red Claws, the G-League affiliate of the NBA’s Boston Celtics, battled back in the third quarter to take a one-point lead, but that was short lived and the Windy City Bulls won the game in decisive fashion 114-101.
It was the ensemble play of the Windy City Bulls that made the difference in the game. Shooting guard Antonio Blakeney has scored 30 or more points in all of his Windy City Bulls appearances and is the league’s leading scorer. But it’s a formula that hasn’t been getting the end results the team needs to post victories as of late.
Tonight, Blakeney scored a still respectable 24 points, but it was the team play led by point guard Ryan Archidiacono and center Jaylen Johnson that made the difference.
It reminded me of the Michael Jordan era of the Chicago Bulls. For years Jordan was the high scorer in the league, but the Bulls weren’t going anywhere. Losing at least as much as winning.
It wasn’t until Phil Jackson got through to Jordan with the concept that it would take team ball to win. Jordan had to start trusting his supporting players – Scottie Pippen, John Paxson, Horace Grant, and Bill Cartwright (then later with Ron Harper and Toni Kukoc) that the Bulls not only started winning, but dominating the competition. By trusting his teammates, Jordan led the Bulls to six championships.
Like Jordan, Blakeney is capable of putting up superhuman numbers on any given night. But tonight showed that when the rest of the team gets actively involved in the game, the Windy City Bulls can be an unstoppable force.
It certainly is food for thought for Windy City Bulls coach Charlie Henry on how he might want to approach the rest of the season – relying more on team ball than on Blakeney’s dominating the scoring.
When I was in high school, my journalism teacher wanted me to pursue a career as a sports writer. However, I never fell in love with the niche (unlike my more talented sister who has a passion and superior talent for sports writing).
While I can talk with expertise about professional basketball, and intelligently about professional football, I have the acumen of a pumpkin when talking about pro baseball or hockey., and less than a pumpkin’s knowledge about collegiate sports.
So I’ll leave the general sports writing to the professional journalists who show a love for the genre. But, I’ll keep giving my opinions on pro basketball. Hopefully you find it entertaining.