A nip and tuck battle opened up in the fourth quarter for the Sioux Falls Skyforce who gradually pulled away for the 113-103 win over the Agua Caliente Clippers on Sunday.

It was the first time this season that the Skyforce (12-13) had won three consecutive games. Conversely, the Clippers (13-12) hadn’t suffered three straight setbacks until the contest at the Sanford Pentagon.

The game also marked the return of Skyforce Guard Derrick Walton, Jr. who had been transferred back to Sioux Falls after being with Miami during a time of need for the short-handed Heat. Walton says the team found a groove on the defensive end.

“We were being disruptive and not giving up on the play. If you had a guy get a step on you, giving the extra effort to get back in front and doing what you wouldn’t like to be done to you on the offensive end to somebody else.”

Skyforce Coach Nevada Smith welcomed Walton back to Sioux Falls, recognizing his abilities to score and defend.

“He’s a good player. He makes other people better and he can score. You had another explosive offensive piece who also defends pretty well and knows how to play. It raises our (basketball) I.Q. a little bit and helps us on both ends.”

Speaking of a defensive display, all eight Sioux Falls players who appeared in the contest had at least one steal. Walton was the top scorer for the Skyforce with 24 points along with 5 assists.

Rodney Pryor added 19 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals with 17 coming from Matt Williams off the bench. A season high 31 points plus 11 rebounds from LaDontae Henton and 21 points for J.J. O’Brien highlighted the Clippers efforts.

Sioux Falls will head to the NBA G League Showcase with a Thursday matchup with the Windy City Bulls. The Clippers’ next matchup will also be at the Showcase in a Wednesday meeting with the Greensboro Swarm.

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