PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – With the turn of the calendar to March, the Northern Arizona Suns were looking forward to a lot of home cookin’ with seven games total at the Findlay Toyota Center in the month. It looked good for the home team early on Friday night against the Oklahoma City Blue, but it turned sour quickly.
The Suns (9-33) fell 127-113 to the Blue (27-15), marking their second straight loss and second straight loss to Oklahoma City this season. These two teams will match up again on Sunday in the final game of the season-series.
George King was the star for the Suns tonight, tying his career-high in scoring with 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting (3-8 3PT), six rebounds, four assists and two steals. This was his 11th 20+ point game of the season, remaining in the team-lead in the category. He’s also scored 20+ points in three straight games, extending a career-long stretch. Over the three games, he’s averaged 26.7 points on 60.9 percent shooting, 52.2 percent shooting from downtown, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
Hollis Thompson got back to how he started his season with 26 points tonight on 9-of-17 shooting, including 3-of-6 from distance, and eight rebounds. This was Thompson’s seventh 20+ point game of the season and his first since Jan. 22 vs. Salt Lake City.
Just two other Suns scored 10+ points in the balanced attack. Retin Obasohan recorded 14 points, nine assists, two steals and two blocks. Peter Jok came off the bench to tally 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from deep and five rebounds. Daniel Dixon notched two points and three rebounds in 11 minutes in his first game played since Dec. 21, as he missed 20 straight contests with an injury.
The Suns exploded out of the gate, making 11-of-20 (.550) and 5-of-9 (.556) from deep in the first quarter. They built a 34-26 lead after the opening frame, forcing the Blue to shoot just 8-of-23 (.348). Both teams shot great in the second quarter, and the Suns took their biggest lead of the game in the frame at 15 with 6:57 left. The Blue closed on a 26-9 run to take a two-point lead at halftime, largely thanks to their 11-of-11 clip from the charity stripe in the second quarter.
Oklahoma City made 12-of-20 (.600) in the third quarter compared to Northern Arizona’s 8-of-21 (.381) clip, blowing the game open to take a 100-86 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Suns couldn’t make it much of a game at the end, falling behind by 23 before ultimately losing by 14.
The Blue were powered by their bench tonight, outscoring the Suns’ reserves 61-33. Three bench players scored in double figures for Oklahoma City, including Kevin Hervey (21 points, 8-14 FG, seven rebounds), Dez Wells (14 points, 8-8 FT, three rebounds, two steals) and Devon Hall (14 points, 5-8 FG, 4-5 3PT).
Richard Solomon led Oklahoma City with 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting, plus 9-of-10 from the free throw line. He achieved a double-double with 12 rebounds, adding three assists. Scotty Hopson tallied 18 points, five rebounds and three assists. K.J. McDaniels had 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting and four rebounds. Donte Grantham grabbed 10 rebounds, adding four points and three steals.
There were just two lead changes in the game and zero ties, with both teams owning 15+ point leads during the contest. Oklahoma City finished shooting at 43-of-86 (.500), 12-of-29 (.414) from distance and 29-of-34 (.853) from the stripe. The Suns weren’t far behind, making 39-of-84 (.464) from the field, 13-of-36 (.361) from beyond the arc and 22-of-26 (.846) from the free throw line.
These two teams will play each other on Sunday at 1 p.m. MT at the Cox Convention Center. The game will be televised on NBA TV.
– NAZSuns.com –