Rich Pedroncelli / The Associated Press

Kings teammates Quincy Acy, left, and Reggie Evans, right, congratulate Rudy Gay during a timeout in overtime Tuesday.

Gay comes up big at finish

Published: Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2014 - 11:10 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Mar. 19, 2014 - 7:28 am

For whatever reason, there are too many nights when Rudy Gay seems to blend in on offense too much.

Some nights he doesn’t get the ball. Perhaps, coach Michael Malone doesn’t call enough plays for Gay. Or maybe Gay doesn’t demand the ball enough.

That wasn’t the case Tuesday night.

With the Kings on their way to an embarrassing loss in which a first-half lead was wasted, Gay was aggressive late, forcing overtime and pushing the Kings to a 117-111 overtime win over the Washington Wizards at Sleep Train Arena.

Gay finished with 24 points, 16 coming in the fourth quarter and overtime

“I didn’t feel like I was part of the game so I had to pick it up,” Gay said.

The Kings never led in the fourth quarter but tied the game at 100 on a contested shot over Trevor Ariza from the baseline by Gay with 5.6 seconds to play.

The Kings then held off the Wizards in overtime. After the game was tied at 111, Gay broke the tie on a 19-foot jumper with 37.8 seconds to play.

“That’s the beauty and luxury and having a guy like that,” Malone said. “When he gets going and he’s in a rhythm he can get his own shot, he’s got great size and length and he carried us down the stretch.”

Malone said it’s also his job to keep Gay in a groove and make sure he can stay in one.

“It’s also my job to get him the ball,” Malone said. “He’s got to demand it and (Tuesday) I kept calling his number and he produced. And that’s pretty simple as a coach. When you have a guy like that going and scoring, keep giving him the ball.”

When Gay was acquired in December from Toronto, it was to be a big-time player in clutch situations. Gay said Malone did call more plays for him, but he also became more aggressive.

“I think it goes hand-in-hand,” Gay said. “I do think (Malone) possibly could call more plays and with that I can also demand more, too. I can’t sit around and just let things happen. If I want to win, if I want this team to win, especially in my position I’ve got to make it happen.”

It was more than just Gay. He combined with Isaiah Thomas and DeMarcus Cousins to score all 17 points for the Kings in overtime.

Thomas had his first triple-double with 24 points, a career-high 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

“I wasn’t aware (of the triple-double),” Thomas said. “But I never thought I would be able to get a triple-double. I just was playing hard. I got lost in the game, was trying to make plays for my teammates, trying to do things on the defensive end, and it happened to come.”

Cousins added 24 points and 14 rebounds in spite of being limited by foul trouble.

“I mean, once I came back in the fourth, like I said early on, I felt like I didn’t contribute (Tuesday) early on in the game,” Cousins said. “So the mindset was just to come out and be aggressive and if I foul out, I foul out. But just come out and be aggressive and just make some plays for my team.”

The Kings jumped out to a 30-19 lead after the first quarter and led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter.

The Wizards (35-32) rebounded from their slow start to take their first lead in the third quarter and lead 73-70 headed to the fourth quarter before the Kings (24-44) rallied.

Drew Gooden came off the bench to give Washington with 18 points and six rebounds. Gooden had been out of the NBA since being waived by Milwaukee via the amnesty clause before signing a 10-day contract with Washington Feb. 26.

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Read more articles by Jason Jones

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