PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – During their last Sunday Fun Day of the 2017-18 campaign, the Northern Arizona Suns sure left the fans happy, even garnering a standing ovation in the fourth quarter.
The Suns outscored the South Bay Lakers 43-29 in the final frame on Sunday evening at the Prescott Valley Event Center to improve to 21-24 and remain in the playoff mix. The Lakers fell to 27-18, putting them two full games behind the first-seeded Austin Spurs.
Josh Gray had it going all night for the Suns, as he tallied 38 points on 12-of-18 shooting, including 6-of-11 from beyond the arc, plus 8-of-11 from the free throw line, six rebounds and five assists. This was Gray’s sixth 30+ point game of the season, tied for the sixth most such games in the NBA G League.
The Suns snapped a season-long-tying five game losing streak.
Gray was the hot scorer but the whole team was hot throughout the contest, finishing 52-of-93 (.559) from the field, improving to 13-1 on the year when shooting 50 percent or better. Northern Arizona shot a scorching 65.0 percent clip in the first quarter and 63.6 percent in the second quarter to finish the first half 27-of-42 (.643) from the field.
Still, the Suns only held a five-point lead at halftime, as South Bay shot 24-of-43 (.558) in the first 24 minutes. Both teams cooled off in the third quarter with South Bay taking the frame by two. The fourth quarter was all NAZ, who scored 12 points off of eight Lakers turnovers, shooting 14-of-26 (.538) in the frame. Gray scored 18 points in the fourth quarter on perfect shooting (5-5 FG, 3-3 3FG, 5-5 FT).
In a chippy game that saw five technical fouls and a flagrant foul, Northern Arizona continued to pester South Bay all night, scoring 34 points off of 26 Lakers turnovers.
Archie Goodwin was on fire yet again for Northern Arizona, tallying 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. He is shooting a career-high 52.2 percent on the season. The Suns are now 11-5 when Goodwin shoots 50 percent or better from the floor (1-5 otherwise).
Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson got his fifth start of the season and achieved his third double-double on the year with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block.
Other Suns with solid performances were Alec Peters, Lavoy Allen and Xavier Silas. Peters notched 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting, five rebounds and three steals. Allen finished with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting, six rebounds and four assists. Silas continued his career-long streak of making a three-point field goal, now at 41 games long, scoring 10 points in the process.
Having just eight guys available, the Lakers were led by Andre Ingram and his 28 points on 10-of-23 shooting and six assists. Demarcus Holland achieved a double-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four steals, while Stephaun Branch recorded 21 points, nine rebounds and two blocks off the bench.