NAZ Suns’ slide continues with franchise-tying 9th straight loss
NBA G League
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Northern Arizona Suns have gone nearly a month without winning a game, and an eight-day holiday break couldn’t snap them out of their funk.
On Saturday, Dec. 29, at the UCLA Health Training Center, NAZ lost its ninth consecutive NBA G League contest, falling 119-114 to the South Bay Lakers.
South Bay, which ended a three-game slide, upped its record to 10-12, while the Suns dipped to a league-worst 3-19. NAZ, now 2-10 on the road, hasn’t won since a 109-107 victory Dec. 1 at the Iowa Wolves. NAZ’s nine-game slide ties the franchise’s worst, from Dec. 14, 2016, through Jan. 7, 2017.
Five of South Bay’s players were on loan from the NBA’s L.A. Lakers Saturday. They played 139 of the 240 shared minutes, combining for 90 of the team’s 119 points.
Four South Bay players scored in double figures, led by L.A. assignee Svi Mykhailiuk’s game-high 47 points. Mykhailiuk converted 5 of 9 3-pointers and drained 10 of 11 free throws. That’s the most points scored against the Suns in a game in NAZ history, besting the 40 points scored by Santa Cruz’s Jabari Brown on March 18, 2018.
Guard Alex Caruso followed with 20 points, eight steals, four assists and five rebounds.
Travis Wear (14 points, nine rebounds, six assists) and former University of Michigan standout Moritz Wagner (13 points, seven rebounds, four assists) also stood out for South Bay, which shot 53 percent from the field (40 of 75) and 42 percent from beyond the arc (13 of 31).
South Bay out-rebounded NAZ, 50-36, and the Lakers were able to overcome 29 turnovers to the Suns’ 17.
For NAZ, which played minus guard Daniel Dixon (left foot) and veteran forward Derek Cooke Jr. (personal reasons), five players scored in double figures.
Newcomer Hollis Thompson, who started at power forward, scored a team-high 24 points on 10 of 17 shooting. Thompson added four assists, four steals and three rebounds. The performance marked Thompson’s second 20-plus-point game in three contests with NAZ.
George King followed with 22 points, eight rebounds, five steals and three assists. He went 4 of 9 from 3-point range. It was his sixth 20-plus-point showing on the season.
Aaron Epps was a bright spot off the bench, notching a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. He was 3 for 3 from beyond the arc. It was Epps’ fifth double-double of the season and his third in his last five games.
Point guard Jawun Evans, back with NAZ for the first time since Dec. 8 after spending three weeks with the Phoenix Suns, also had a double-double of 14 points, 13 assists and five rebounds. This was Evans’ first career double-double, as he posted a career-high in assists that bested his previous two eight-assist contests.
Peter Jok chipped in with 17 points, five rebounds and four steals.
NAZ won’t have much time to think about its latest loss, as the Suns visit the Santa Cruz Warriors, winners of three in a row, at 7 p.m. today, Dec. 30, at a sold-out Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz, California.
Santa Cruz owns a 15-5 record, the second-best mark in the G League’s Western Conference standings to the conference-leading Oklahoma City Blue (16-5).
South Bay ends its three-game home stand when it plays host to Oklahoma City at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, at UCLA Health Training Center.