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Depleted D-Fenders Hold Off Suns

By Jacob Withee | March 4, 2017

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Los Angeles D-Fenders’ last played on Sunday in Prescott Valley, but the lineup they brought on Friday didn’t look nearly the same. Two of their top players, Justin Harper and David Nwaba, got called up to the NBA, while Julian Jacobs got hurt in their last game and didn’t travel with the team. It didn’t matter much though that the D-Fenders had nine healthy bodies available, as they got it done against the Northern Arizona Suns 107-94.

The Suns (18-20) were full of silly mistakes on Breast Cancer Awareness Night, turning it over in the backcourt multiple times and committing 12 fouls in the fourth quarter.

Trailing by 22 points with 3:39 left in the third quarter, it looked like the Suns might fold at their home arena. But with the help of the crowd, they made a furious rally to knock it down to a manageable three point deficit with less than three minutes remaining. That was as close as they’d get though, losing the game and the season-series 3-1 to Los Angeles.

The Suns turned it over 22 times, which led to 28 points for the D-Fenders (29-10). Once again, they made quite a few from distance, hitting at least 12 three-pointers for the fourth consecutive game. But a 33-for-83 (.398) mark from the field wouldn’t get it done for NAZ, despite winning the battle on the boards 54-47.

Elijah Millsap led the Suns with 19 points, to go with eight rebounds and three assists. Xavier Silas scored 17 points on 4-of-11 from beyond the arc, notching his fourth consecutive game making at least four from deep.

Askia Booker nearly had the second Suns triple-double on the year, recording 11 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Los Angeles’ Vander Blue led all scorers with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists, but the game belonged to fellow forward Travis Wear. Wear put up monster numbers, achieving 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting and 17 rebounds. DeJuan Blair also tallied a double-double, as he had 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.

For Northern Arizona, Joe Jackson made his season debut, scoring 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Alex Davis had six points, five rebounds and seven blocks, while Shaquille Harrison tallied 15 points and eight boards off the bench.

The Suns will finally complete this four-game stretch against the D-League’s three best teams on Sunday in Oklahoma City at 1 p.m. MT. The D-Fenders get to head back home for a matchup with the best team in the league, the Raptors 905, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. MT.