Sunday , Nov , 06 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Abdur-Rahim clutch as Kings edge Suns

=== Abdur-Rahim clutch as Kings edge Suns ===

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 23 points and made
two free throws with 13.3 seconds remaining to lift Sacramento to a wild
118-117 victory over Phoenix at America West Arena.

Abdur-Rahim added 12 rebounds and seven assists while Peja Stojakovic poured
in 33 points, including 23 in the third quarter, as the Kings earned their
first win of the season after road defeats to the Hornets and Rockets to start
the year.

Mike Bibby chipped in 19 points and Brad Miller compiled 17 points, 10
rebounds and eight assists in the triumph.

Leandro Barbosa scored 12 of his team-best 23 points in the fourth quarter to
help the Suns rally from a 13-point deficit with nine minutes left to play.
His three-pointer with 21.5 seconds left gave Phoenix a 117-116 lead.

On the ensuing possession, Abdur-Rahim grabbed the rebound of his own miss and
was fouled by Kurt Thomas. He calmly sank both bonus attempts to put
Sacramento back in front.

“We just hate to lose tonight on a tough call that could have gone either
way,” said Thomas.

The Suns had two chances to win the game, but came up short. Boris Diaw’s
reverse layup attempt was blocked out of bounds by Bibby with 0.7 seconds left
and Brian Grant missed a jumper at the buzzer.

Steve Nash had 18 points and 13 assists while Diaw nearly had a triple-double
with 11 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds for Phoenix, which had won two in
a row after a season-opening loss to Dallas.

The Kings trailed 65-57 early in the second half when Stojakovic began to
catch fire. He started a 9-1 run with a fastbreak layup off a Bibby steal,
then later drained a triple with 9:37 left in the quarter to bring Sacramento
within 67-64. Bibby’s outside jumper less than a minute later made it a one-
point game.

Stojakovic gave the Kings their first lead since late in the first quarter
when he swished home a 25-footer at the 6:37 mark of the third to put the
visitors ahead 76-75. Later on in the period, he keyed a 12-2 spurt with a
three-point play and a basket from beyond the arc that gave Sacramento a 92-81
advantage.

“We played pretty well but we couldn’t stop them in the third quarter,” said
Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni. “(Sacramento) got hot and Peja wasn’t missing
anything.”

Stojakovic made 9-of-10 shots, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, for
the quarter.

The Kings were up 104-91 after Abdur-Rahim’s layup and subsequent free throw
with 9:03 left to play, but Phoenix responded with nine unanswered points. An
Eddie House basket and 1-of-2 foul shots by Shawn Marion cut the lead to four
with 6:37 to go.

“We knew they were going to make a run,” said Sacramento head coach Rick
Adelman. “They always do here.”

The Suns continued to chip away and moved ahead 111-110 when Marion converted
a three-point play off a turnover with 3:05 remaining. The lead would change
several times over the next two minutes before Abdur-Rahim’s hook shot put the
Kings up 116-114 with 30 seconds left.

Nash then penetrated the lane and kicked the ball out to Barbosa, who knocked
home a three-pointer near the baseline to send the Suns back in front.

“Leandro had an amazing game,” Nash remarked. “He’s a big part of our team and
I think this what we’ve kind of been waiting for.”

Phoenix shot over 62 percent from the field in the first quarter to grab a
three-point edge, then extended it to 38-30 after five straight points from
House to start the second. Bonzi Wells then ignited a 6-0 run with a pair of
jumpers to bring Sacramento within two, but the Suns reeled off six
consecutive points to go up 44-36 with under eight minutes left in the half.

The lead was still eight points with less than two minutes remaining before
intermission, but another 6-0 spurt capped by Wells’ putback with 30 seconds
to go cut the Kings’ deficit to 57-55. However, Raja Bell canned a three-
pointer on the ensuing possession to give the Suns a five-point cushion at the
break.

Game Notes

Stojakovic’s 23 points were two off Mitch Richmond’s franchise record for a
quarter, set at Houston on December 15, 1995….Wells recorded 16 points and
nine rebounds for Sacramento…Eight Phoenix players scored in double-
figures, with House, Thomas and James Jones each netting 11 points…The
Suns’ bench outscored the Kings’ reserves 51-10…The game was the first
of five straight for Phoenix at America West Arena…Sacramento has
won six of the last nine meetings between the clubs.

PHO SAC