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Kings’ Rudy Gay says he’s ready to start season

Kings Rudy Gay shoots over San Antonio’s Jeff Ayres, left, during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in San Antonio.
Kings Rudy Gay shoots over San Antonio’s Jeff Ayres, left, during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in San Antonio. AP

Rudy Gay has been through the preseason enough times to not sweat the results.

So while his statistics haven’t been great, Gay isn’t worried any struggles might carry over into the regular season.

“I’ll be fine,” Gay said before the Kings’ preseason finale. “This is my ninth preseason. I know when my body is right. My body is right and my game will get tight very soon.”

The Kings will have to wait to know exactly when that might be after Gay was forced to leave Friday’s exhibition game against the Los Angeles Lakers at MGM Grand Garden Arena with an injury to his jaw.

Gay was injured with 35 seconds left before halftime. He was hit in the face with an elbow by Lakers rookie Julius Randle, who was called for an offensive foul on the play.

Gay needed dental work after being elbowed in the face during a FIBA World Cup semifinal game against Lithuania but was able to play in the gold-medal game.

The Kings are optimistic Gay will not miss playing time.

“I think he’s going to be all right,” said Kings coach Michael Malone. “... I know it’s sore, I don’t think it’s broken. Obviously he got hit in that jaw this summer when they played against Lithuania”

Gay is scheduled to have X-rays in Sacramento.

The Kings won the game 93-92 on a putback by Ray McCallum at the buzzer.

The bench rallied the Kings, outscoring the Lakers 29-16 in the fourth quarter.

The Kings are just happy Gay appears to have escaped the preseason without a major injury.

Gay was playing because, like the rest of his teammates, he still needed to find his rhythm heading into the regular season.

But after six games in which the Kings had played inconsistently and piled up turnovers, Malone was treating Friday’s game like the first game of the regular season, which begins Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors.

Gay had eight points.

Malone was hoping the game would be a chance for Gay to put together a solid game before next week.

“If you look at his numbers, and he hasn’t put up very good numbers shooting-wise from the field or from the three,” Malone said before tipoff. “He’s done a good job of getting to the free-throw line. I’m hoping he can play well (Friday) and not just hoping on opening night he can be the Rudy Gay that played for us last year.”

Gay entered Friday averaging 13.2 points while shooting 36.7 percent and missed nine of his 10 three-point attempts. He’d also missed a game with a sore left ankle.

Gay had 18 points and seven rebounds Monday at San Antonio, his second consecutive game scoring in double figures. Gay scored nine points in each of his first three preseason games.

“I definitely feel like I’m getting better,” Gay said. “A little rusty in the beginning, but this is preseason when everybody is. I feel like I’m just getting into a rhythm right now.”

Gay wasn’t the only King to leave the game early. Ben McLemore left in the fourth quarter after bumping heads with Lakers guard Wayne Ellington. The clash left a cut above McLemore’s right eye that needed stitches to close.

DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes. Cousins only had two turnovers after having 19 in his previous two preseason games.

Derrick Williams also ended the preseason well. He had his best scoring game during exhibition play with 14 points.

Jeremy Lin led the Lakers with 19 points and seven assists.

Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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