Kings-Bobcats Preview

Following an impressive home debut with his new team, Rudy Gay

must leave northern California for a while but has the Sacramento

Kings feeling real good going to the road.

Gay looks to stay hot as Sacramento plays four road games in

five nights, starting Tuesday night against the stumbling Charlotte

Bobcats.

“The basketball is going to be in my hands a lot,” Gay said, “so

I’m just trying to keep everybody comfortable and keep everybody

happy.”

Gay, acquired from Toronto in a seven-player deal last Monday,

takes some pressure off Kings top scorers DeMarcus Cousins and

Isaiah Thomas. Gay had 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting in his

Sacramento debut, a 116-107 loss at Phoenix on Friday, then scored

26 in a 106-91 win over Houston on Sunday and left to a standing

ovation from his new home fans.

“It makes the game so much easier,” said Cousins, who had 21

points and 10 rebounds. “It’s not such a heavy load on me and

Isaiah every night, just having another go-to guy.”

Thomas added 19 points for Sacramento (7-15), which held the

lead for most of the final 35 minutes. Thomas, Cousins and Gay all

made at least half of their field-goal attempts and combined for 17

assists. Gay chipped in five rebounds and four steals.

“It makes my job easier on offense. That’s for sure,” coach

Michael Malone said of adding Gay, who averaged 19.4 points for the

Raptors. “He’s so skilled. He’s so talented. He makes it look so

easy out there. He can score in so many ways.”

Malone also was pleased to see his team hold the Rockets, among

the league’s highest-scoring teams, to their second-lowest point

total of the season on 41.3 percent shooting. The Kings allowed an

average of 107.9 points in their other seven games this month.

Only once have they held an opponent below 100 away from home.

They’ve played a league-low seven road games, going 2-5, but

they’ll follow this matchup with Wednesday’s trip to Atlanta before

visiting Miami on Friday and Orlando on Saturday.

Cousins has recorded double-doubles in all three of his games in

Charlotte (10-14) and enters this contest having posted a

season-high four straight.

Gay has averaged 24.3 points in three games against the Bobcats

in 2013.

Charlotte has lost the last three meetings with Sacramento, held

to 88.0 points per game on 41.2 percent shooting, and has been

similarly mediocre offensively during its current three-game losing

streak. The Bobcats averaged 87.3 points and shot 42.6 percent,

including 10 of 42 from 3-point range.

All three games were decided by single digits, and Charlotte had

a fourth-quarter lead in the last two against Indiana and the

Lakers.

“We’ve played a few games now where it’s come down to the end,

especially against good teams, and just haven’t been able to come

up with the plays,” guard Gerald Henderson said. “… We need to be

more consistent down the stretch of games at both ends. That goes

for everybody, myself included.”

Henderson has scored in double figures in 15 straight games and

Kemba Walker has done so in 13 in a row, including a game-high 24

points in Sunday’s 88-85 home loss to Los Angeles.

Walker has averaged 12.7 points on 35.0 percent shooting,

including 2 of 16 from beyond the arc, in three meetings with

Charlotte.