HOUSTON -- Rudy Gay has shown he can be an effective scorer for the Kings and coach Michael Malone would like to get even more from Gay.
Malone said after Monday’s practice at Toyota Center that Gay is a player he can use more in late-game situations that the Kings have struggled in this season.
“Late in the game I have to get him some more touches,” Malone said. “We tried to post him up and we wind up turning the ball over tying to go to him in the post. But he had made a couple of plays for us off high pick-and-rolls and gotten us a four-point lead. But down the stretch I’ve got to get him some more looks.”
Gay has been a much more efficient player in nine games with the Kings than he was with the Toronto this season. After shooting 38.8 percent in 18 games with the Raptors (averaging 19.4 points), Gay is averaging 19.3 points on 48.1 percent shooting in nine games with the Kings.
Before the deal, the Kings were prone to give the ball to DeMarcus Cousins and watch him try to score late in games. There have been moments when that hasn’t been the case, but utilizing Gay more should make it easier for Cousins to score and give Isaiah Thomas more room to operate.
The Kings are 3-6 in games Gay has played in. Gay is averaging 25 points in the wins.
*Malone counts San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich as a mentor and spoke with him after Sunday’s game.
Malone was reminded the core of the Spurs -- Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker -- have been together for 10 years, which helps a lot when it comes to late-game execution.
The Kings’ roster as currently constructed, will play its 10th game together Tuesday against the Houston Rockets.
Malone relayed the message to his team Monday:
“It’s not going to happen overnight, it’s a process. But I thought Pop made a great point. They execute at such a high level because for 48 minutes they trust each other, they play together. We had 20 assists for the game but in the fourth quarter we had one assist and five turnovers for 12 points (for San Antonio). What happens right now with a young team, a team that doesn’t close those games out is everybody tries to do it themselves. Isaiah tries do it himself. DeMarcus tries to do it himself. Rudy tries to do it himself. Not because they’re being selfish but because they’re all trying to make the play to help this team so their heart is in the right place. But what I told them was to Coach Popovich’s point -- we can’t trust each other and play together for three quarters, it’s got to be for 48 minutes. And if we do that and we make plays for each other we become a lot harder to guard. That’s a lesson we’re going to have to learn.”
Poor spacing, poor decisions and lack of ball movement late forced the Kings into tough shots against the Spurs late.
“We played a very good team on the road and gave ourselves a chance to win and that’s all you can ask for from a young team,’ Malone said. “Hopefully the more we go through those, the more we’ll learn and the better we’ll get next time we‘re in that situation.