PHOENIX (AP) – DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points, Rudy Gay added 22 and the Sacramento Kings beat the Phoenix Suns 113-94 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
The Kings won an opener for the first time in three years and gave coach Dave Joerger a victory in his Sacramento debut.
Sacramento used an 18-1 first-half run to take control and was up by as many as 26 points in the third quarter.
Devin Booker, plagued by foul trouble, scored 18 points for the Suns. Eric Bledsoe added 16 and T.J. Warren had 14. Dragan Bender, the 18-year-old fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, scored 10 points for Phoenix, all in the second half.
A lineup featuring all three Phoenix draft picks – first-rounders Bender and Marquese Chriss and second-rounder Tyler Ulis – got the Suns back within 10. Bender hit his second 3-pointer of the quarter and Chriss scored inside to slice it to 86-76 with 9:07 to play.
But Gay scored seven points and Matt Barnes had five in a 12-1 outburst to put the Kings back firmly in control 98-77.
Sacramento’s reserves dominated their Phoenix counterparts to give the Kings their big first-half lead.
Ben McLemore scored six points and Garrett Temple and Willie Cauley Stein added four apiece in a 16-1 run to end the first quarter, with the Kings leading 30-19. Anthony Tolliver made a 6-foot floater to open the second quarter to make it an 18-1 run and a 32-19 lead.
Temple’s 17-footer with 2.8 seconds left in the half gave Sacramento its biggest lead of the game thus far, 57-39.
When Bender entered the game in the third quarter, Phoenix became the first team to have three teenagers appear in a game. Chriss is 19 and Booker barely made it. He turns 20 on Sunday.
Suns owner Robert Sarver took the microphone and told Suns longtime broadcaster Al McCoy that he would be added to the Ring of Honor on March 3. The 83-year-old McCoy has been the Suns radio announcer for 40 seasons.
Kings: Cousins scored 10 straight Sacramento points in the third quarter. … Sacramento last won a season opener in 2013, beating the Denver Nuggets.
Suns: The Suns won 23 games last season, second-worst record in the team’s 48-year history. … Phoenix has missed the playoffs the last six seasons. … Chriss drew a flagrant foul with 5:37 left in the third quarter. … Booker got in early foul trouble and had a brief shoving match with Cousins in the second quarter.
Kings: Play their home opener Thursday night against the San Antonio Spurs.
Suns: Travel to Oklahoma City for the Thunder’s home opener on Friday night.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.