Suns 106, Kings 96By The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Thu, Jan 24, 2013 1:10 AM EST
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Lindsey Hunter is off to a good start as an NBA head coach. Playing their first game since Hunter became the interim coach following the departure of Alvin Gentry, the Suns rallied to beat the Sacramento Kings 106-96 Wednesday night before a crowd of 12,741 at Sleep Train Arena. Phoenix (14-28) improved to 4-17 on the road by outscoring Sacramento 32-19 in the fourth quarter. Suns forward Michael Beasley has struggled all season, but he always plays well against the Kings. Wednesday night was no exception. He came off the bench to score 19 points in 22 minutes. Beasley put up 15 second-half points while scoring in a variety of ways. Phoenix got a game-high 21 points from Luis Scola, one of six Suns to score in double figures. Marcin Gortat, Goran Dragic and Shannon Brown each had 12, while Markieff Morris scored 10. Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 16 points, while DeMarcus Cousins had 15 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Cousins also contributed six of the Kings' 24 turnovers. The Suns stayed close until the fourth quarter, trailing by three after three periods, before surging late for the win. Sacramento's offense went into the tank in the final quarter, and Phoenix used a 15-1 run to grab a 96-85 lead midway through the period. Hunter, who had never been an NBA coach, leaned heavily on assistant coach Igor Kokoskov throughout the contest. The game was ragged for both teams. The Kings had 17 turnovers through three quarters, and that nullified a commanding rebounding advantage. Sacramento wound up with a 49-30 edge on the boards. NOTES: The Kings host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday before leaving on a six-game, 10-day road trip. The Suns return home to play the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. ... Cousins and Warriors forward David Lee are the NBA's only players to average at least 18 points and 10 rebounds this season. ... The Phoenix Suns had not played since Jan. 17. ... Former Kings assistant coach Elston Turner was an assistant for Gentry. Turner did not travel with the team to Sacramento and has not attended a practice this week. Former Suns player Dan Majerle left his post as an assistant coach after being passed over for the head-coaching job. ... Kings coach Keith Smart believes rookie forward Thomas Robinson can become a great defender. "He has all the physical qualities to become a defender who can guard both forward positions. For him, it's about learning the tendencies of individual players and their teams. It's about learning and understanding."
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