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Kings 117, Suns 103

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- DeMarcus Cousins scored 17 of his 34 points in the first quarter and Isaiah Thomas added 23 points and eight assists as the Sacramento Kings won a battle of scoring runs in a 117-103 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.

Tyreke Evans added 12 points for the Kings, who won for the fourth time in their last six games.

Luis Scola had 25 points and P.J. Tucker 18 for the Suns, who played without Goran Dragic and Jermaine O'Neal (both resting) and lost their fifth straight game and ninth in the last 10 to tighten their grip on the worst record in the Western Conference.

The Suns spent the night shaving down double-digit deficits, the last one with a 9-0 run that cut a 16-point Kings lead to 94-87 on a Jared Dudley 3-pointer with eight minutes left. But with Cousins and Thomas on the bench, the Kings reeled off a 13-4 run and took complete command at 109-91 on a Jimmer Fredette 3-pointer with 4:19 to go.

Cousins and Thomas combined for 28 of Sacramento's 38 points in the first quarter and 23 of the final 25. Cousins scored the final 15 points in the first quarter starting at the 3:48 mark with a 3-pointer, three two-point jumpers, two dunks and two free throws. His 21-footer gave the Kings their biggest lead at 38-30.

The first half of the second quarter went well for the Suns. Phoenix wiped out a 42-34 Kings lead with eight straight points, and Dudley tied the score at 46 on a 3-pointer with 5:08 left in the half.

But Sacramento reeled off the next 14 points in the next four minutes and John Salmons' 15-footer gave the Kings a 60-46 lead. Phoenix scored just four points in the last five minutes of the second quarter and the Kings led 64-50 at intermission.

Sacramento pushed their lead to 19 at 75-56 on a Thomas 3-pointer early in the third quarter, but the Suns responded with a 13-0 run. Scola contributed a dunk, two free throws and a 9-foot hook that pulled the Suns to six with 4:50 left in the quarter.

The Kings then doubled their margin in less than two minutes, taking an 88-78 lead to the fourth quarter.

NOTES: Indiana and Syracuse met in the NCAA Tournament Thursday night -- the first time the Hoosiers and Orange played since the championship game 26 years ago, when Keith Smart hit the winning shot in the final seconds to give Indiana its most recent national championship. ... Kendall Marshall had 13 assists in his first NBA start in Utah on Wednesday. He joins Kevin Johnson, Negele Knight, Greg Grant and Jeff Hornacek as the only Suns rookies to have 13 or more assists in a game. ... Smart, the Kings coach commenting on Isaiah Thomas: "I was 100 percent truthful with him. I said, 'You're starting for me. You're starting for an NBA team. But I don't know if the rest of the league sees you as a starting point guard, and how you take it is totally up to you. You have to show them you can manage a team and pick spots when you must take over a team." ... After going 115 games without a 20-point game, Suns guard Wesley Johnson came in with back-to-back 20-point efforts.

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