Hield scores 20, Kings bury Suns early in 122-105 win
PHOENIX — Buddy Hield scored 20 points, De’Aaron Fox had 16 points and seven assists and the Sacramento Kings coasted to a 122-105 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
Seven Kings scored in double figures, including Bogdan Bogdanovic off the bench with 14 points. Sacramento has won two straight after losing its previous three.
Rookie De’Anthony Melton led Phoenix with a career-high 21 points. Trevor Ariza and Josh Jackson scored 14 each for the Suns, who fell behind 36-9 after the first quarter. Phoenix has lost six straight and nine of 10.
Playing without leading scorer Devin Booker, who has missed two of the last three games, and forward TJ Warren, out for the third straight game with right ankle soreness, the Suns couldn’t overcome 3-for-17 shooting in the first 12 minutes.
The Suns missed their first 12 3-point attempts. Sacramento center Willie Cauley-Stein had four steals in the game’s first four minutes.
The Kings ended the period on Bogdanovic’s layup with 1.4 seconds remaining. That brought boos from the crowd as the Suns set a season low for scoring in a quarter.
Fans cheered derisively when the Suns reached double figures at the 9:37 mark of the second period.
Hield’s third 3 of the first half gave the Kings a 46-13 lead at the eight-minute mark. Melton made the Suns’ first 3-pointer of the night with 6:20 left in the second quarter, and when Ariza flew in for a fast-break dunk with 4:42 to go in the half, the score was 53-24.
The Kings took a 68-40 lead into halftime, with Hield’s 18 points leading the way.
Phoenix got as close as 22 points in the third quarter, 81-59, but the Kings responded with an 13-2 run and took a 99-67 lead into the fourth.
Kings: Four of Tuesday’s starters have started all 23 games this season. The exception was Iman Shumpert, who has started 18 of 20 games. ... Bogdanovic walked over to slap hands with Suns coach Igor Kokoskov during a stoppage in play in the first quarter. Both are from Serbia. ... At 12-11, this is the deepest into a season the Kings have been above .500 since the end of the 2005-2006 campaign.
Suns: Booker was unable to play after injuring his hamstring Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. ... For the second time this season, the Suns started three rookies in Deandre Ayton, Elie Okobo and Mikal Bridges.
BAGLEY RULED OUT
A possible matchup between the top two picks in this year’s draft fizzled when Marvin Bagley III, chosen second overall by the Kings after Ayton was taken by the Suns, was ruled out for the second straight game with back spasms.
Kings coach Dave Joerger noted that NBA teams often play more games before Christmas than a college team plays in the entire season.
“It’s a grind and he loves to play, so you love that part about him and he wants to be out there,” Joerger said of Bagley, who is from nearby Tempe. “He’ll get back out there as soon as he is physically confident and so is our staff.”
Ayton and Hield were born in The Bahamas, making Tuesday’s game the first in NBA history to feature two players from the island nation. They are the fourth and fifth players from their country in NBA history, and five media members from The Bahamas were credentialed to cover the game.
Kings: At the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.
Suns: At the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.