Rudy Gay’s efficient offensive play has lifted the Sacramento Kings to back-to-back wins for the first time in four months.
Gay and the Kings will look to take advantage of the Philadelphia 76ers’ road ineptitude and extend their modest winning streak Tuesday night.
Sacramento (24-45) defeated Charlotte 101-91 on Friday, then won 109-86 over Washington on Sunday. The Kings were 17 for 38 from 3-point range in those games after coming into the stretch 25th in the NBA at 33.1 percent and averaging 5.3 made 3s.
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DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points in just 23 minutes after missing two games with a strained right calf, but the Kings were again led by Gay, who scored 26. He’s averaged 27.6 points and 51.6 percent shooting over his last eight games, and Sacramento is 14-7 when he scores 25 or more.
Gay credited his second straight start at power forward for helping open things up.
"The shots out there look differently because there is more spacing on the floor and more spacing to drive, not just for me, but for my teammates as well," said Gay, whose 48.3 field-goal percentage against Philadelphia is tied for his second highest against an opponent.
Improved defense has also keyed the Kings’ first back-to-back victories since a three-game winning streak Nov. 20-25. Though Sacramento ranks 25th in field-goal percentage defense at 45.6, it limited the Hornets and Wizards to 39.9.
"It just shows that we do have the ability to do it," Cousins said. "We just have to want to do it on a nightly basis and be a consistent team on the defensive end. There’s no more excuses for it. We’ve shown that we can do it, so we’ve just got to continue to do it."
Cousins has scored 33 or more in two of his last three meetings with Philadelphia, matching a season high with 39 and 24 rebounds in a 114-107 road loss last Monday, the Kings’ 11th defeat in 13 meetings.
The 76ers (17-53) knocked off Detroit and New York at home last week but lost 101-87 on the road to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. It was their 15th straight road defeat, a span in which they’ve shot 39.5 percent.
Philadelphia shot 36.0 percent against Los Angeles and dropped to 2-35 when allowing 100 points. Philadelphia hasn’t lost 16 in a row away from home since Dec. 28, 1987-March 4, 1988. It’s won six straight in Sacramento.
Thomas Robinson, selected fifth overall by the Kings in 2010, had 14 points off the bench against the Lakers. Signed by Philadelphia last month after being waived by Denver, he’s averaged 8.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in 13 games for the 76ers.
"He’s been great when you give him those few eight-minute sections and nine-minute sections when he’s not playing big minutes," coach Brett Brown said. "He gives you that energy and that toughness. He’s been good for us since he’s arrived."