PHOENIX (AP) Devin Booker scored 22 points, including two free throws with 9.8 seconds to play, and the Phoenix Suns beat the Sacramento Kings 117-115 on Monday night for their first win of the season in their first game under interim coach Jay Triano.
Phoenix fired coach Earl Watson on Sunday and guard Eric Bledsoe was sent home Monday morning after he sent out a tweet over the weekend that left the impression he no longer wanted to play for the Suns.
Despite the tumultuous stretch for the franchise, Phoenix shot 54.5 percent from the field and held on after Sacramento rallied in the final period. Marquese Chriss scored 19 points, and Mike James finished with 18.
The Kings have dropped three of four to begin the season. Garrett Temple scored 23 points for Sacramento, and rookie De’Aaron Fox had 19.
The Suns led by double digits for much of the fourth quarter, but Temple hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 112-110 with 1:20 to play. Then Fox tied it with a layup.
James looped a high-arching layup over two defenders with 14.8 seconds to go, putting the Suns back in front. Temple drew a foul at the other end but made one of two free throws, and the Suns’ Troy Daniels made a foul shot with 5.1 seconds left.
The Kings had one last chance, but Temple missed a 3 at the buzzer.
With Triano directing the team from the sideline, the Suns raced out to a 22-point lead, making 14 of 20 first-quarter shots.
Chriss scored 10 points in the first 12 minutes. But the Kings got as close as five in the second quarter and trailed 59-51 at halftime, with former Suns draft pick Bogdan Bogdanovic scoring all 12 of his points in the second in his NBA debut.
Triano changed up what had been the Suns’ starting five for the first three games under Watson. Booker, T.J. Warren and Tyson Chandler remained in while Chriss and James made their first starts of the season.
Triano said he hadn’t slept much and was running on adrenaline.
”We’re going to learn on the fly and I’m going to stop the game,” he said. ”If I use all timeouts to teach, I’m going to use all timeouts to teach.”
Triano added that he doesn’t have a substitution pattern and all in-game moves will be based on play.
Kings: Coach Dave Joerger said he has known Triano for some time via basketball circles. ”He’s an incredible basketball mind,” Joerger said. … G-F Vince Carter became the sixth NBA player to play against the Suns in his 20th season or later.
Suns: Triano got a quick embrace from Carter just before tipoff. The two were together in Toronto 14 seasons ago. … F Jared Dudley saw his first action of the season, playing five minutes.
Kings: Host New Orleans on Thursday.
Suns: Host Utah on Wednesday night.
Source: Fox Sports