Cold Suns Heat Up Too Late in Loss to Clippers

By Jacob Withee | January 3, 2019

ONTARIO, Calif. – For the third straight time on their California road trip, the Northern Arizona Suns came back from a large deficit to give themselves a chance to win, but they heated up too late, falling to the Agua Caliente Clippers 110-93.

The Suns (3-21) trailed by as many as 26 points on Wednesday night to the Clippers (11-9) at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California. Down 80-54 with under three minutes left in the third quarter, the Suns made their next five shots to end the quarter on a 14-0 run, extending it to a 16-0 run into the fourth quarter. From there the Suns got within seven points twice, the last time with 5:48 left in the game, but the Clippers proved too much in the end.

The Suns dug themselves an early hole despite not turning the ball over a single time in the first quarter and just twice in the second quarter. Northern Arizona couldn’t get the rock to drop, shooting 6-of-26 (.231) in the opening frame and 6-of-23 (.261) in the second quarter to get down 56-37 at halftime. In the second half, the Suns shot 21-of-41 (.512), outscoring the Clippers 56-54.

For the game, the Suns shot 33-of-90 (.367) from the field compared to Agua Caliente’s 43-of-87 (.494) clip. The Suns forced 18 turnovers while only turning it over 10 times, but they were outrebounded 55-38.

Hollis Thompson led Northern Arizona with 19 points (3-of-6 from deep), to go with four rebounds. Aaron Epps followed off the bench with 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting, leading the team with eight rebounds while also recording two assists, two steals and a block.

Also in double figures were Peter Jok (15 points, five rebounds, two steals), George King (13 points, six rebounds two blocks) and Jawun Evans (10 points, six assists).

Former Northern Arizona Suns forward Anthony Bennett scored 14 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting in the fourth quarter, including a 4-of-4 mark from downtown. He finished with a game-high 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting (5-of-12 3PT), to go with nine rebounds off the bench. Johnathan Motley and Angel Delgado entered the contest as the only set of teammates in the NBA G League each averaging a double-double this season, and they had the only two double-doubles in the game. Motley recorded 14 points on 7-of-15 shooting, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Delgado had 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, 14 rebounds and four blocks.

The Suns’ longest losing streak in team history extends to 11 games as they’ll head home for the first time since Dec. 16 to take on the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Sunday at 3 p.m. MT. The Clippers will stay home with their 2-0 2019 mark and face the Oklahoma City Blue on Friday at 8 p.m. MT.

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