NBA: Suns 106, Kings 96: Suns win in Hunter's coaching debut

2013-01-24T00:00:00Z NBA: Suns 106, Kings 96: Suns win in Hunter's coaching debutThe Associated Press The Associated Press
January 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Luis Scola scored 21 points and the Phoenix Suns won their first game under new coach Lindsey Hunter, beating the Sacramento Kings 106-96 on Wednesday night.

The Suns, tied with New Orleans for the worst record in the Western Conference at 14-28, outplayed the Kings in the second half, quieting a Sacramento crowd that was watching the Kings for the first time since the announced sale of the team to a group of Seattle businessmen.

Michael Beasley had 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, when the Suns outscored Sacramento 32-19. Marcin Gortat, Goran Dragic and Shannon Brown scored 12 apiece for Phoenix, which has won two straight road games but is 4-17 away from home.

Tyreke Evans scored 16 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 15 points and 15 rebounds for the Kings, who have dropped two straight and three of four. Cousins, who committed six of Sacramento's 25 turnovers, was called for his 10th technical foul in the fourth quarter for delay of game.

James Johnson added 14 points for the Kings and rookie forward Thomas Robinson had 12 points and a season-high 14 rebounds off the bench.

This was the first game in Sacramento since the Maloofs, owners of the Kings, reached a deal to sell controlling interest of the team to a group led by investor Chris Hansen, who will file for relocation to move the franchise to Seattle next season. That move will require NBA approval.

The Suns used a 15-1 run in the fourth quarter to grab control of the game. Phoenix closed the spurt with six straight points, taking a 96-85 lead with 4:29 remaining. A three-point play by Scola gave Phoenix a 13-point cushion with just under a minute left.

Despite uncertainty about the team leaving town, the 12,741 Sacramento fans in attendance were surprisingly subdued, treating it like a routine midseason game.

The Suns played well in the third quarter and continued that trend in the fourth. Scola made a pair of jumpers and Beasley added a dunk and later followed with a jumper at the midway point in the quarter, giving Phoenix a 92-85 lead.

It's been a tumultuous week for the Suns as well. They parted ways with coach Alvin Gentry last Friday following a stretch of seven losses in eight games.

In a surprise move, the Suns named Hunter - formerly the team's player development director - as their interim head coach for the remaining 41 games this season.

Unhappy with the hiring of Hunter, assistant coach Dan Majerle departed and Elston Turner may be next to go. The team's lead assistant, Turner was not at Wednesday's game and reportedly will meet with Suns general manager Lance Blanks today.

Today

• What: Clippers at Suns

• When: 8:30 p.m.

• TV; radio: TNT; 1490-AM

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