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  • Jeffrey Phelps / The Associated Press

    The Kings’ Rudy Gay and the Bucks’ Khris Middleton pursue the ball. Gay had 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

  • Jeffrey Phelps / The Associated Press

    >Kings rookie Ben McLemore, middle> drives against the Bucks’ Nate Wolters, left, and Brandon Knight

Kings just go with the flow in win over Milwaukee

Published: Thursday, Mar. 6, 2014 - 12:18 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Mar. 6, 2014 - 7:42 am

DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay were being swarmed by defenders in the first half.

The Milwaukee Bucks were determined to prevent the Kings’ duo from beating them with their scoring.

Cousins and Gay responded by repeatedly setting up teammates, helping the Kings take a double-digit lead in a 116-102 victory Wednesday night at Bradley Center.

The Kings had 21 assists, with Gay getting six and Cousins five.

“Anytime you can play through a player like DeMarcus or Rudy that demands a double team and they can make the right play, that’s so valuable as a coach to have,” Kings coach Michael Malone said.

The Kings were efficient on offense, committing only nine turnovers, their first game with fewer than 10 turnovers since Jan. 7 against Portland. The key was the willingness of the Kings’ top offensive threats to move the ball instead of forcing the action and causing turnovers.

“They were keying on me and Rudy a lot tonight, especially in the first half,” Cousins said. “Our teammates did a great job of getting open and hitting shots. I feel like we handled the situation well with the double teams.”

Sacramento’s three leading scorers – Cousins, Gay and Isaiah Thomas – combined for 68 points and 17 assists.

“You’ve got to play off your guys, and we have to make people better,” Gay said. “We played well (Wednesday). We moved the ball, got people involved, and when they double-teamed us, we’ve got to kick it out.”

The Kings (22-39) are at their worst on offense when the ball stays in the hands of one player who attempts to make a play on his own. But they avoided that problem against the Bucks, a league-worst 12-48, for their ninth road victory of the season, surpassing last season’s total.

Sacramento has had trouble with spacing on offense and passing but was better in both areas Wednesday.

“Everybody just made the right play,” Thomas said. “Guys were getting double-teamed, and Rudy and DeMarcus, they read what they were doing and made the right play and guys were hitting their shots.”

Thomas finished with 25 points, six assists and four steals. Cousins had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Gay added 22 points and seven rebounds.

The bench also did its part, with rookie Ray McCallum getting a season-high 15 points and Reggie Evans scoring 13.

The challenge for the Kings will be duplicating the spacing and ball movement against teams that are better than the Bucks.

“When the ball is moving and we’re sharing the ball, the offense is going to look that much crisper,” Malone said. “If guys pass without hesitation and look to make plays for their teammates, the offense is going to be that much better.”

Thomas said the Kings must approach each game with the idea of playing the right way.

“Just read the defense,” he said. “Different games, different coverages, it’s going to be different results. As the leaders of this team, we’ve got to read the defense and make the right play.”

Thomas was happy with the win but unhappy with how his night ended. He was called for two technical fouls with 4:19 to play and was ejected. The first technical foul was called by Joey Crawford and the second by Scott Wall.

Thomas said he planned to appeal to have the technical fouls rescinded.

“I don’t say anything disrespectful, and for them to hit me with two technicals is not cool,” he said. “I’m going to talk to the NBA about it and try to get that back.”

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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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