Kings notes: With injured Thomas out, McCallum logs major minutes

Published: Saturday, Mar. 29, 2014 - 10:40 pm
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 30, 2014 - 12:32 am

The Kings are off today, and that’s good for Ray McCallum.

As the only healthy point guard on the roster, the rookie has played a lot –137 of a possible 144 minutes in the last three games.

McCallum played all 48 minutes Saturday night in the Kings’ 103-100 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

The 137 minutes over three games are the most by a Kings rookie, topping the 136 minutes by Kenny Smith in 1987. The last time a Kings rookie played 48 minutes in a regulation game was Francisco Garcia on Jan. 15, 2006.

Isaiah Thomas missed his third consecutive game because of a deep thigh bruise, leaving all the playing time to McCallum, who had season highs of 16 points and eight assists.

“It was fun out there, and I felt fine the whole entire game,” McCallum said.

McCallum played so much out of necessity, because when he hasn’t been in the game lately, the Kings have problems generating offense.

“When Ray is out of the game, it’s not the prettiest thing,” coach Michael Malone said.

The Kings have asked forward Rudy Gay to help with facilitating the offense. They also use center DeMarcus Cousins as a passer out of the post.

But when it comes to running the team, it’s asking a lot of Gay to initiate the offense.

“You’re asking Rudy Gay to be our point guard, and that’s not a role he’s accustomed to,” Malone said. “Handling the ball in pick-and-rolls and playing point guard is two totally different things ... .

“He’s got to go into a phone booth and put on a Superman costume because that’s what we’re asking him to be. It’s a little unfair to him, but I respect the effort Rudy’s trying to give forth.”

Rare absence – Thomas is not used to watching from the sideline, especially because of an injury.

“I’ve never missed a game for injury in high school, college or the NBA,” he said. “This is tough for me, especially it being a bruised thigh. It’s frustrating.”

Thomas worked out before the game but said he didn’t have the explosiveness needed to compete.

“If I were to play, I’d just be out there, and that might hurt the team more,” he said.

Thomas has taken to coaching his teammates, especially McCallum. Thomas said he has learned ways to help by watching, but it’s not his preferred method.

“I just wish I could physically help my team, and I can’t,” Thomas said.

Malone hopes Thomas can play Monday at New Orleans so the coach doesn’t have to run McCallum “into the ground.” If Thomas is unavailable, McCallum would be looking at playing 40-plus minutes in the third game in four nights on the road.


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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