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Paul Kitagaki Jr. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (22) drive to the basket past Houston Rockets shooting guard Francisco Garcia (32) and Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) in the second half of Sunday’s 106-91 over the Rockets at Sleep Train Arena.

Postgame notes: Malone expecting big minutes from three Kings

Published: Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 - 8:11 pm

Postgame notes and quotes from Sunday’s 106-91 win over the Houston Rockets at Sleep Train Arena:

• Questions about the Kings and their rotations have been around for quite some time, well at least the four-plus seasons I’ve covered the team. A lot of mixing and matching, a lot of coaches saying there really isn’t much difference in talent with many of the players.

Kings coach Michael Malone appears to be trying to solidify some things and make how the Kings enter games more predictable.

So if you don’t know, here’s a hint -- Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas will play a lot.

“I want to have DeMarcus Cousins or Rudy Gay on the floor at all times,” said Kings coach Michael Malone. “I don’t think that we can afford to have both of them on the bench at the same time. Those are our two main go-to guys and Isaiah Thomas is going to be leading the league in minutes played after this season.”

• Thomas is the player that will carry the biggest load. He’s played 84 out of 96 possible minutes over the last two games.

Thomas will not be complaining about too much playing time.

“I’ve been preparing for this moment since I came into the league,” Thomas said. “That’s what I work so hard for in the summer, to play those minutes. I wanted to be those guards I see on other teams, playing 40 minutes a night. I’ve been given this opportunity, I’m going to take it and run with it.

• Thomas has seven or more assists in five of his last six games.

• With Thomas playing so much, there might not be much reason to debate over who plays backup point guard. Jimmer Fredette played 4:59 (all in the first half) and Ray McCallum played the final 1:16 of the game.

Unless the Kings start unexpectedly blowing out teams on a nightly basis there won’t be much game time for Fredette or McCallum to split and use to improve.

• Rudy Gay has 50 points in his first two games as a King on 18-for-32 shooting.

• Gay and Travis Outlaw played some backup shooting guard. That left Marcus Thornton playing 6:55 in the second half. He had two points and two rebounds.

• James Harden left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury, but returned briefly.

Harden was injured when he stepped on Ben McLemore’s foot on a drive to the basket. He shot the free throws from the play on one foot.

“It was throbbing so I taped it up real tight to see if I could go out there and move,” Hardens aid. “It wasn’t working so I shut it down.”

• Aaron Gray played well in his Kings debut but didn’t play Sunday because of Houston’s tendency to go with small lineups. Malone said Gray will still play a lot for the Kings. Quincy Acy played because of the Rockets’ smaller lineups.


Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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