NAZ Suns snap franchise-worst 14-game losing streak with road win over Maine
NBA G League
Updated as of Saturday, January 12, 2019 11:19 PM
PORTLAND, Maine — The Northern Arizona Suns’ nightmare, at long last, is over.
Losers of 14 consecutive games, the fourth-longest stretch in NBA G League history, the Suns completed an impressive fourth-quarter comeback on Saturday, Jan. 12, en route to beating the Maine Red Claws, 106-99, at the Portland Expo.
With the win, the 2018-19 Suns avoided potentially matching the G League record of 17 straight losses, which was set by the Erie BayHawks in 2016 and tied by the Salt Lake City Stars in 2017.
The Suns improved their record to 4-24 and ended a streak of eight consecutive road losses, which had tied the franchise’s record. NAZ’s last victory came Dec. 1 at the Iowa Wolves.
The Red Claws of the Eastern Conference, meanwhile, dropped to 8-17.
NAZ outscored Maine, 35-21, in the fourth period after falling behind 78-71 at the end of the third quarter. Five Suns scored in double figures, led by forward Hollis Thompson’s 22 points (10 of 18 from the field) and eight rebounds.
Shooting guard George King followed with 20 points and five rebounds. Jawun Evans (17 points, six rebounds, four assists, four steals), Aaron Epps (12 points, six rebounds) and Peter Jok (12 points, five rebounds, two assists) aided in the effort.
Maine was led by power forward Vitto Brown, who finished with a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds. Four other Red Claws were in double figures, including former NAZ Sun Archie Goodwin, who had 10 points, three steals and two assists.
Trailing 51-48 at halftime, the Suns couldn’t make headway in the third period, falling behind 78-71 after Goodwin made a driving layup as the buzzer sounded.
In the fourth, the Suns went cold initially, failing to convert a field goal in the first 2-plus minutes. And yet they pieced together a comeback over the next couple of minutes, going on an 11-0 run to tie it at 82-82 with 6:28 left.
NAZ grabbed the lead, 89-86, with 5 minutes left in regulation on a Jok 3-pointer, and wouldn’t relinquish it. The Suns led 95-88 with 3:15 to go, but Maine’s Justin Bibbs converted three free throws moments later to cut it to 95-91.
RJ Hunter’s 3-pointer pulled the hosts within 97-94 with 2:15 left. But Evans made it 99-94 Suns with 1:15 remaining, and reserve guard Retin Obasohan’s left-handed layup extended the edge to 101-94 with 44.8 seconds to go to seal it.
OUT OF ACTION
Suns guard Daniel Dixon, who’s dealing with a nagging left foot injury, missed his seventh game of the season on Saturday. Veteran forward Derek Cooke Jr., who remained out of the lineup due to undisclosed personal reasons, also missed his seventh contest of the campaign.
NAZ ends its four-game road trip when it visits the Canton Charge (8-14 record going into Saturday) at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15.
The Suns then return home to play host to the struggling Texas Legends, who had lost seven in a row and were 8-18 headed into the weekend, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
The Red Claws visit the Capital City Go-Go at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, in Washington, D.C.
Doug Cook is a reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.