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Hunter 2-0 as coach after Suns beat Clippers

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 25, 2013 at 1:42 am •  Published: January 25, 2013
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After Gortat's two free throws with 23 seconds left put Phoenix up three, Crawford was fouled on a drive to the basket, narrowly missing a chance at a game-tying, three-point play. Instead, Crawford, an 88 percent free-throw shooter this season, missed one of two from the line to leave the Clippers down two.

Phoenix got the inbounds pass to Shannon Brown, who was fouled on what officials ruled was a clear path to the basket. Brown made both free throws to make it 90-86 with 15.4 seconds left and the Suns retained possession. One free throw by Morris and two by Dragic wrapped up the Suns' scoring.

Hunter became the fourth coach in Suns history to win his first two games. The other three — Gentry, Scott Skiles and Jerry Colangelo — also did it as midseason replacements.

The wins came despite a rocky change of power. Earlier in the day, Elston Turner confirmed he has left the organization after being passed over in favor of Hunter, who was director of player development and had never coached before. Dan Majerle also left as an assistant coach after being passed over for the interim job.

Dragic scored the final nine Suns points in the first half, the last two on free throws after coach Vinny Del Negro and Crawford were called for technicals with 0.3 seconds left to put the Suns up 50-46 at the break.

Crawford scored seven straight points, the last two on a drive, to put Los Angeles ahead 62-59 with 4:17 left in the third quarter. Phoenix finished the quarter with a 6-2 spurt to lead 68-66 entering the fourth.

The fourth quarter has usually been kind to the Clippers. Not on this night.

"We are very comfortable in the fourth quarter," Crawford said. "There has been a little bit of slippage but we have to know exactly where we want to go in the fourth quarter and what we want to do. I think that is where we were at previously and I think we will be able to get back to that."

NOTES: Suns C Jermaine O'Neal missed his second game in a row because of an irregular heartbeat. .. The Clippers lost four straight from Nov. 21 to Nov. 26., but had gone 24-5 since then. ... Ex-Sun Grant Hill got a warm reception from the crowd when he entered late in the first quarter for the Clippers. ... The Suns have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Clippers in Phoenix. They had won 10 straight before losing in their last meeting on Dec. 23. ... Four NBA interim coaches have won their first two games this season.