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Suns come from behind to beat Kings 101-90

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Suns come from behind to beat Kings 101-90

PHOENIX (AP) Shannon Brown scored 14 of his 22 points in the third quarter, Jared Dudley added 20 points and the Phoenix Suns pulled off another big rally to beat the Sacramento Kings 101-90 Monday night.

The Suns were out of sorts throughout the first half, scoring 43 points while trailing by up to 19. Brown helped them outscore Sacramento 31-14 in the third quarter and Dudley provided the cushion down the stretch to give Phoenix its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Marcin Gortat had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Luis Scola gave the Suns his usual hustle while scoring 14 points and dishing out a career-high 10 assists.

The Kings played well early, but faded down the stretch to lose their fourth straight game. Jimmer Fredette had 22 points and Aaron Brooks added 12 for Sacramento.

Sacramento and Phoenix, the two worst teams in the Pacific Division, met heading in opposite directions.

Just a week ago, the Suns were reeling, on a seven-game losing streak that included a 40-point blowout to struggling Detroit on Nov. 28, the third-worst loss in franchise history.

Phoenix started its current five-game homestand with a loss to Orlando, but followed with wins over Memphis and Utah, two teams in the upper half of the Western Conference.

The Kings seemed to be putting things together with a modest three-game winning streak, only to play poorly at both ends during a four-game losing streak. Sacramento was blown out 122-97 by Denver at home Sunday night and has struggled on the road all season, winning 1 of 10 games before facing the Suns.

The Kings looked tired early after playing the night before, missing nine of their first 12 shots before hitting a few late in the first quarter during a 10-0 run.

After that, it was the Suns who looked worn down.

Phoenix missed all seven of its 3-pointers in the first quarter and wasn't much better from anywhere else, unable to get even layups and tip-ins to go down. The Suns failed to hit a field goal over the final 5:19 of the first quarter and continued to struggle in the second, going down 52-33 after Fredette hit two free throws to reach 12 points in the quarter.

Phoenix managed to hit a couple of shots late, but still trailed 54-43 at halftime - the 20th time in 25 games this season the Suns have trailed by double digits.

Of course, they've come back a lot this season, too, and did it again.

Hitting the shots that weren't falling early, Phoenix went on an 18-4 run midway through the third quarter, going up 61-58 after Brown hit three straight shots, including a 3-pointer as he fell into Sacramento's bench.

The Suns kept hitting shots - 13 of 19 - and played some defense, holding the Kings scoreless for four minutes to turn an 11-point deficit into a six-point lead.

Phoenix extended the lead to 85-75 on a 3-pointer by Michael Beasley from the corner midway through the fourth quarter, but the Kings clawed back within three. The Sun sealed it after that, going up 97-84 on consecutive 3-pointers by Dudley and a driving layup by Brown.

NOTES: Hall of Fame center Bill Russell attended the game. ... Phoenix has won 12 of its past 14 games against Sacramento at home. ... Sacramento played without G Tyreke Evans, who left with sore knee after the first quarter against Denver Sunday night.

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

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USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 

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