NEW ORLEANS -- It was obvious Rudy Gay was tired late in the fourth quarter Tuesday night.
But his Kings teammates kept giving him the ball, wanting him to shoot.
The team that at its worst can be a collection of players all about getting their own numbers was asking Gay to keep shooting.
I never had people tell me to be more aggressive; you have a bunch of points, Gay said with a grin. Especially not on this team.
He finished with a bunch of points 41 to match his career high as the Kings ended a two-game losing streak by beating the New Orleans Pelicans 114-97 at New Orleans Arena.
Gay said he remembered the last time he scored 41. It was Dec. 13, 2009, playing for Memphis at Miami.
Ive flirted with it a couple of times, a bunch of times, he said. It was a long time ago. I was a different player then.
Gay made 16 of 25 shots, including 5 of 8 3-point attempts, in scoring the most points by a King this season. He also had eight rebounds and five assists, becoming the first player in Sacramento history to have at least 40 points with that many rebounds and assists.
His productive stat line was what the Kings expected when they acquired him Dec. 9 from Toronto.
Every time he does that, I get a smile because there were so many of these so-called analytic experts that called him one of the most inefficient players in the NBA, Kings coach Michael Malone said. And every game hes been with us, hes been one of the most efficient players Ive been around. Im happy for him, and obviously, we needed all 41points to get the win.
Gay was coming off his worst game as a King. He scored six points and was ejected after being assessed two technical fouls in a blowout loss in Oklahoma City on Sunday.
Gay said his performance Tuesday wasnt about proving a point after what happened Sunday.
Honestly, I didnt even know how much I had scored. I was just worried about getting the win, Gay said. I found out when I came back to the bench; Quincy (Acy) said something to me.
At the end of the game, guys were expecting me to be more aggressive. I really was just trying to get people involved, just pump the score out so we could get out and get some rest before (tonights) game (in Houston).
The Kings (15-25) had a strong second half to put away the injury-riddled Pelicans (16-25) behind Gay, DeMarcus Cousins (18 points, 11 rebounds, six assists) and Isaiah Thomas (20 points, 11 assists). Acy had a career-high 10 rebounds off the bench.
Sacramento had its biggest scoring first quarter of the season and led 38-20. But New Orleans made 11 of 14 shots in the second quarter and closed the gap to 64-56 at halftime. The Pelicans 78.6 percent shooting in the second was the best in a quarter by a Kings opponent this season.
The Kings opened the third quarter with a 19-4 run to take control again. Gay had 13 points in the third.
What helped them get on that run is we started playing differently from how we started playing the game, Cousins said. So we came back out, played that same style of basketball and got the lead back up.
Cousins extended his team record for consecutive games with a double double to 15. Its also the longest double-double streak in the league this season.
Thomas shot just 6 of 17, but three of those baskets were 3-pointers, extending his streak of games with a 3-pointer to 34, the fourth longest in team history. Thomas can tie Peja Stojakovic for the third longest streak tonight.
Former King Tyreke Evans led New Orleans with 17 points, and Anthony Davis had 16 points and four blocked shots.