Suns beat Kings 106-96 in 1st game under Hunter

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 1:06 am •  Published: January 24, 2013
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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.

On Tuesday, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson identified 20 local investors who committed $1 million each in a bid to purchase the Kings. Johnson, who attended the game and sat in a courtside seat, said he plans to announce several major investors later this week in his ongoing effort to keep the team in Sacramento.

"It's just business, but nobody really knows what's going on," Evans said. "So we've just got to keep playing and worry about the season. It's not really a distraction. My job is basketball. It's not where we are moving to."

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, who had nine fourth-quarter points, gave Phoenix a 13-point cushion with just under a minute left.

Beasley, who entered the game shooting just under 37 percent, made eight of 15 shots, hit his only 3-point attempt and had six rebounds in 21 minutes.

"Beasley is still a proven player in our league," Smart said. "Obviously he played well. He was able to make some big plays down the stretch."

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

There were multiple signs displayed in support of the team, however, and one courtside fan yelled, "KJ (Kevin Johnson) you're the man" several times. A small group of fans also chanted "Stay in Sac."

"Coaches and for the most part players don't get caught up in everything that goes on off the floor," Smart said before the game. "They focus on practices and deal with the guys they work with. You are not paying attention to what your team is doing if you are focusing on the outside. We try to focus on the 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.

Markieff Morris scored eight points in the third quarter when the Suns closed the gap, outscoring the Kings 25-20 and pulling to 77-74 entering the fourth.

James Johnson hit all five shots in the second quarter when he scored 11 points, helping the Kings take a 57-49 lead into halftime.

NOTES: Cousins connected on a 3-pointer with 1 second left in the first quarter. ... Jermaine O'Neal, the Suns' co-captain, did not practice or travel with the team Tuesday due to a medical issue. He reportedly had a verbal confrontation with Blanks earlier in the week. ... Kings reserve guard Jimmer Fredette entered in the second quarter after not playing in the two previous games. He had two points in just under 4 minutes of playing time. ... Former Suns scout Dan Panaggio returned to the team as a new assistant coach, joining Noel Gillespie and Igor Kokoskov, who replaced Turner as lead assistant.