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Lawson's first triple-double paces Kings

Lawson's first triple-double paces Kings
Published On: Wed, Apr 12
Jan 24, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Ty Lawson (3) celebrates his basket with teammates against the Dallas Mavericks in the second half at Toyota Center. Rockets won 115 to 104. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Ty Lawson had come close to posting a triple-double more than a couple of times in his eight-season NBA career and never pulled it off.

So he appreciated that Sacramento Kings coach Dave Joerger put him back into the game with his team nursing a huge fourth-quarter lead against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

No sooner did Lawson enter than he scooped up the carom on a Ronnie Price miss for his 10th rebound, and his triple-double goose egg was gone. A standing ovation followed from the fans who may have been watching him play his last home game.

"It was nice, it really was," Lawson said after finishing with 22 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in Sacramento's 129-104 rout of the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night in their home finale at the Golden 1 Center. "The ball seemed to be coming my way early, and I was able to get a lot of rebounds early. After that, I just tried to stay aggressive, like I always do."

Lawson, who had six rebounds in the first quarter, is one of three unrestricted free agents whose futures for the Kings remain in limbo, and he has proved to be as significant as any of them. Primarily a backup for starting point guard Darren Collison, Lawson has averaged 9.9 points and 4.8 assists in 25 minutes per game. He had posted consecutive double-doubles in his previous two games.

"I really think we're heading in a positive direction," he said. "We'll see what happens."

Rookie Buddy Hield led Sacramento with a career-high 30 points, and eight of the nine Kings on the floor scored in double figures. The Kings played without Collison (migraine headache) and fellow unrestricted free agent forward Tyreke Evans (rest). Center Kosta Koufos (rest) also sat out.

The Suns (24-58) finished their season with the Western Conference's worst record and seemed to have no desire to improve their position in the finale. Rookie Devin Booker, the team's leading scorer at 22.1 points per game, was held out for rest as was center Tyson Chandler.

Tyler Ulis scored 27 points to pace Phoenix, and Sacramento native Marquese Chriss, traded by the Kings for Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis after all three were picked in June's draft, totaled 22.

"It's been a tough season," Chriss said. "We just have to keep moving forward."

Phoenix made 37.6 percent of its 109 shots and was outscored 53-32 during an 18-minute stretch bridging the second and third quarters.

"It was a loose game," Joerger said. "They played fast, and we played fast."

Alan Williams added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, and TJ Warren totaled 14 points and seven assists. Phoenix lost to Sacramento for the third time in four meetings and finished a game worse than it did in 2015-16.

Papagiannis, Willie Cauley-Stein and and Ben McLemore each scored 13 points for the Kings, while McLemore contributed nine rebounds and Papagiannis seven. Papagiannis also picked up a technical foul after standing his ground defensively against Chriss underneath the basket and ending up in a skirmish.

The technical foul was the first for the Kings since the trade of center DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans in February. Cousins leads the NBA with 18 technical fouls this season, all but two of them with the Kings.

Labissiere and Anthony Tolliver scored 12 points for the Kings, who conclude their season Wednesday on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers.

NOTES: Sacramento is 8-16 since trading C DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 19, but the Kings are 7-8 after an eight-game losing streak. ... Suns G Devin Booker played a team-high 78 games in his second season, two more than his rookie campaign and increased his scoring average from 13.8 to 22.1 points per game. Only G Walter Davis in 1978-79 averaged more points for Phoenix in a sophomore season. ... Kings coach Dave Joerger used his 30th starting lineup of the season. Coach George Karl used 34 in 2015-16. ... The Suns will wind up with at least 58 losses for the second straight season and third time in the franchise's 49-year history. ... The Kings finished their inaugural season at the Golden 1 Center with a 17-24 mark on the home floor. They have not posted with a winning record on their home floor since the 2007-08 campaign.

Read the complete news article here...


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