Jazz-Kings Preview

Rudy Gay liked what he saw from his sky box seat after arriving

in Sacramento. Now he’ll get a chance to help his new Kings

teammates win three in a row for the first time this season.

Acquired in a multiplayer trade, Gay is expected to make his

debut Wednesday night when the new-look Kings try to deal the Utah

Jazz their fifth straight defeat.

Sacramento (6-13) completed its second deal in two weeks Monday,

getting Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy from Toronto in exchange for

Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck

Hayes.

The Kings also traded Luc Mbah a Moute to Minnesota for forward

Derrick Williams on Nov. 25 in a swap of forwards.

Gay, Gray and Acy weren’t available Monday, but Gay watched as

Sacramento defeated Dallas 112-97. DeMarcus Cousins led the way

with 32 points and 19 rebounds for the short-handed Kings, while

Williams had a career-high 31 points and shot 12 of 16. Isaiah

Thomas added 24 points and 12 assists in his first start.

”I guess I came on a good day because the team was playing

great,” said Gay, the centerpiece of the deal. “Obviously DeMarcus

and Derrick played well. So this is a good start and I can’t wait

to get out there with the guys.”

Gay, averaging 19.4 points and a career-high 7.4 rebounds, adds

scoring punch to a Sacramento team that ranks near the bottom of

the Western Conference with 98.7 points per game.

The Kings have shown improvement recently, averaging 106.4

points in their last five contests. They shot 46.9 percent from the

field and outscored the Mavericks 23-5 on fast-break points despite

using only 10 players.

”We didn’t care if we had 10 or 15 players, we had enough

talent to win this game,” coach Michael Malone said. ”… Our

next challenge is to figure out the new guys and how they’re going

to play and at what position.”

While Gay is expected to join Thomas and Cousins in Malone’s new

starting lineup, it’s uncertain who will take the other two spots

between Williams, rookie Ben McLemore and Jason Thompson.

That question will be answered when the Kings go for their

second victory in five days over the Jazz (4-19). Cousins had 28

points and Thomas scored 26 to help the Kings pull out a 112-102

overtime win at Utah on Saturday.

Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke combined for 41 points for the

Jazz despite going 11 for 36 from the field, while Alec Burks added

19 off the bench.

NBA-worst Utah dropped its fourth straight Monday, 105-94 to

visiting Portland. Burks – averaging 17.4 points over his last five

games – finished with 20 while Enes Kanter had 19.

”I thought we were doing a better job out there,” coach Tyrone

Corbin said. ”I thought execution on the offensive end is getting

a lot better.”

The Jazz might have to continue that improvement without

starting forwards Derrick Favors (back) and Marvin Williams (heel),

who remain day-to-day.

The Jazz will also look to tighten up defensively after allowing

108.7 points over their last seven games. They gave up 99.2 over

the first 16.

In the teams’ most recent matchup in Sacramento, Thomas scored

25 points, Marcus Thornton had 24 and Thompson added 21 for the

Kings in a 120-109 victory Feb. 9.

The Kings have won five of the past seven home meetings.