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  • HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    DeMarcus Cousins walks toward the baseline to inbound the ball as the Suns began to take control in the fourth quarter. He had 15 points and 15 rebounds for his 20th double double this season.

  • HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Rookie Thomas Robinson reacts after dunking for two of his 12 points. He also grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds.

  • HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Sacramentan Bryan Oliver, who said he has been a Kings fan since 2000, watches Wednesday's game as he holds out hope that the team will stay put.

Error-prone Kings lose to Suns

Published: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 4, 2013 - 12:36 pm

The Kings appeared to get the old saying about giving all wrong.

Because in the NBA, it's not always better to give, especially when giving the ball to the opponent repeatedly.

That's what the Kings did in a mistake-filled effort Wednesday night as they lost 106-96 to the Phoenix Suns at Sleep Train Arena.

It was the second consecutive loss for the Kings, who gave the Suns plenty of chances to stay in the game with a season-high 25 turnovers. Six Kings committed at least three turnovers each.

The Suns turned the Kings' mistakes into 27 points. The Kings also made only 15 of 24 (62.5 percent) from the free-throw line.

"Obviously, we hurt ourselves with that many turnovers and getting to the free-throw line and not making free throws," said Kings coach Keith Smart.

The Suns took an 85-84 lead with 8:28 to play and never trailed again.

"When they took the lead, their momentum was up, and they never looked back," said Kings guard Tyreke Evans.

Even though the Kings (16-27) had a 49-30 rebounding advantage and outscored the Suns 58-46 in the paint, they kept giving the Suns chances with the turnovers.

"They were mostly on us," Kings center DeMarcus Cousins said of the turnovers. "I know I had (a team-high) six. Can't really say it was them. They played the passing lanes and caused a few, but that was more on us."

The Suns were playing their first game under interim coach Lindsey Hunter, but for most of the fourth quarter, the Kings looked like the team trying to figure out what to do.

The Kings led by 10 early in the third quarter. But in the fourth quarter, Sacramento made a habit of giving up the ball (eight turnovers) and couldn't slow down Phoenix forward Michael Beasley, who scored 13 of his 19 points in the final period.

"That's the type of fire we have been looking for out of (Beasley)," Hunter said. "It wasn't just offensively, but defensively he was great as well."

Said Kings forward James Johnson: "They just made some good switches. They made changes at halftime, and it worked on us. We tried. Michael Beasley came out and performed well. We couldn't stop him."

The Kings couldn't slow down forward Luis Scola, either. He scored nine of his 21 points in the fourth quarter.

Phoenix outscored the Kings 32-19 in the final period.

The Kings also couldn't contain guard Goran Dragic, who had 12 points and a game-high 11 assists.

Cousins finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds, his 20th double double this season. Rookie Thomas Robinson matched his season high with 12 points and had a season-high 14 rebounds in 26 minutes.

Evans was the Kings' top scorer with 16 points.

Hunter was elevated from the player development staff to interim coach Sunday. Suns center Marcin Gortat grabbed the game ball for Hunter, saying, "Fine me or send me the bill."

"That was really exciting," Hunter said of his first win. "I'm more excited for the guys than I am anything else."

The Suns (14-28) had lost their previous two games. Overall, Phoenix has beaten the Kings five straight times.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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