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Hales slams Chicago Christian for regional title

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Hales slams Chicago Christian for regional title

Friday, Feb. 25, 2011
11:00 PM

By: Chris Pellizzari
YourSeason.com

Not only did the No. 11 Spartans capture a 2A regional title on Friday. They did it with style.

In front of opponent Chicago Christians own fans, Hales (25-4) put on a show that consisted of a barrage of slam dunks and steals. When the curtain finally came down, the Spartans walked away with the 78-49 victory.

Halfway through the first period, Hales junior Aaric Armstead (12 points) caught a pass just beyond the three-point line. He blew by his defender and bursted down the right baseline before elevating over another Knight defender and throwing down a tomahawk dunk.

Seconds later, Dominique Walls (16 points, eight rebounds) stole a pass and took it the length of the court for another dunk.

It was also the beginning of an onslaught of Knight turnovers.

Leading by only seven points early in the second period, The Spartans turned their game up another gear. Junior Eddie Alcantara, who led all scorers with 21 points, connected with Walls for an alley-oop dunk that sparked an 8-0 run.

Armstead then stripped the ball from a Knight player and took it in for another uncontested dunk. Chicago Christian (21-7), who finished the game with 35 turnovers, had four turnovers on four straight possessions during the run.

Two mid-range jump shots by Aaron Armstead capped off the run and gave the Spartans a 27-12 lead.

Chicago Christian had a hard time just getting the ball past the half-court line and committed 10 turnovers in the period while only scoring eight points. Aaron Armstead scored seven points alone in the period.

Appropriately, the half came to an end with two more steals and another dunk. Jerry Humphrey (four points) had both steals, one which led to a dunk by Alcantara and the other an easy layup for Humphrey.

The Spartans held a commanding 34-18 going into half time.

We wanted to come out and push the ball, said Aaron Armstead. We did a great job of attacking their gaps and scoring in the paint. It was total team effort offensively and I did what I had to do.

With 5:12 left in the third period, Hales jumped out to its biggest lead of the game, 42-21, when Alcantara stole a pass and took it all the way for a dunk.

As the rest of his teammates were throwing down dunks, Walls showed off his skills as an offensive rebounder. The 6-6 senior timed the ball perfectly before soaring in the air and tipping it in off the glass. He scored eight points off offensive rebounds in the period.

The Knights turned the ball over eight more times in the period. Alcantara, who had four steals in the period, took advantage of the turnovers for nine third-quarter points.

Defensively, we had a great game plan tonight. We brought a playoff intensity, said Alcantara. We are hungry for a state championship and we plan to will ourselves to wins.

Michael Kamp led Chicago Christian with 17 points.

Zach LaVine puts on rare scoring display in Bulls' win over Atlanta Hawks

Zach LaVine puts on rare scoring display in Bulls' win over Atlanta Hawks

On some nights, basketball can be pretty simple. For the Bulls’ offense — a unit in desperate need of a breakout — tonight was one of those nights.

“I told him, whenever you get it, just shoot it. No matter where you at,” Coby White said of Zach LaVine (who else?) after the Bulls routed the Hawks 136-102. “It just seems like when he gets in a rhythm, he's impossible to stop.”

At present, that sentiment resonates strongly. LaVine scorched the Hawks Wednesday night to the tune of 35 points on 12-for-15 shooting, 7-for-7 from 3-point range. And he did it all in just 25 minutes, sitting the entire fourth quarter of a resounding victory that the Bulls, mercifully, polished off early.

“You know, I get it going. And I want it to stay that way,” LaVine said. “It finally got all put together… It feels good. You wanna have wins like that. It does good for the team and obviously for the body [resting the entire fourth quarter].”

Trouncing the Hawks simultaneously snaps a three-game losing streak for the team, and a shooting funk for LaVine. He shot only 33.3% from the field on 19 attempts per game in the three games that comprised that scheid — hard-fought losses to the Warriors, Heat and Raptors. The Bulls’ total margin of defeat from those three contests was eight points.

“That's what we've been trying to put together,” LaVine said of the Hawks game. “Even though we've had our losses, we’ve been competing every game, we've had stretches where we look really good, where we look like the better team. But we're coming out with the losses.”

Not so tonight. But of course, it’s facetious to call the type of display LaVine put on ‘simple’. Every NBA game, no matter what colors the competing teams sport, features the best basketball players in the world. There are no easy nights at the office in this profession.

Which makes just how easy he can make it look all the more astounding. And all the more worth appreciating.

“Zach's efficiency obviously is just unbelievable,” Jim Boylen said. “He wants to be great, and he's working, and his habits are good. So I'm happy for him.”

LaVine joins a list of only 13 players in NBA history to score 35 points in 25 minutes of play with this performance, including Ben Gordon and *drum roll* Michael Jordan. He is also now the 20th player in league history to shoot 100% on 3-pointers on seven or more attempts in a game. When he’s on, it’s a spectacle. Appointment television.

But, for LaVine, the focus remains on the team. And the future.

“I don't think every game's gonna be like this, obviously,” he said. “But we need to have more of them.”

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Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine drops 35 in blowout win over Hawks

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine drops 35 in blowout win over Hawks

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, John Sabine, and David Watson react to the Bulls 136-102 win over the Hawks

0:45 - Reaction to blowout win over Hawks, no cookies though?

3:30 - Viewer comments on Matt being angry, and admitting being wrong on LaVine

5:00 - Zach LaVine highlites by Big Dave

8:10 - On Denzel Valentine and the potential for starting

9:35 - Viewer comment asking for Coby White to start, Matt gets annoyed

10:05 - Viewer comment on trading for Michael Porter Jr

11:30 - Viewer comment on Denzel Valentine in 3-point contest

14:30 - Viewer comment making fun of Sabine’s Cowboys

15:15 - Viewer comment on Markkanen

17:15 - On Otto Porter Jr and missing at least another month

20:55 - Viewer comment on LaVine being the most athletic player in the NBA

23:30 - Viewer comment on Kris Dunn

24:30 - What was your life ‘It’s Over’ moment when you were overconfident?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Outsiders

Subscribe:

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.