Mike James hit a tough left handed driving shot with 14 seconds to go, to give the Phoenix Suns the lead as they went onto a 117-115 win over the Sacramento Kings.
James is the first Lamar Cardinal to play in the NBA since Tom Sewell in 1984.
James started the game under new Phoenix coach Jay Triano and finished with 18 points.
James, in only the fourth game of his career, scored 18 points on 8-10 shooting, dished 7 assists and grabbed a pair of rebounds as the starting point guard for the Phoenix Suns.
“I was just trying to be myself,” James said after. “We needed to work on pushing the pace and moving the ball a little bit more.”
On his game winning left-handed scoop shot over the outstretched arms of Willie Cauley-Stein, James was predictably humble.
“I actually practice that shot a lot,” he said with a chuckle. “Like, every day. But I haven’t done it this year, so I was a little nervous when I did it.”
James said that he knew they were running out of time on the shot clock, wouldn’t have enough time to call another play, so he “just kinda went.”
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.
“The one thing Mike has is experience playing basketball in crazy environments,” Triano said. “Playing in that Greek league is no joke. Games go down to the wire, they’re throwing stuff at you, and there’s smoke bombs going off in the crowd, and it’s a passionate place to play, and he’s been through this before and it was a pretty cool play.”
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.