Rudy, Nik Carry Kings Past Jazz
With Cousins out, much of the scoring load has fallen on the shoulders of Rudy Gay. So far, Gay has been up to the challenge.
No. 8 tallied a game-high 29 points and limited his counterpart, Gordon Hayward, to only seven over the final three quarters. His stellar outing adds to his career year, where the ninth-year pro is seeing averages of 21.1 points per game, 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists, with points and assists checking-in as career-highs.
The Kings also got a huge spark from rookie shooter Nik Stauskas.
With the teams knotted at 68 entering the final frame, Stauskas caught fire and helped the Kings extend a lead they would not relinquish.
During a 12-0 fourth quarter run, the rookie connected on a 16-foot jumper and added a three-pointer in what was ultimately a game-deciding three-minute stretch. Gay also added 10 points in the final period and although Utah would cut the Kings lead to three with 6:11 to play, they would get no closer.
The rookie from Canada recorded a career-highs of points (15), rebounds (8), and minutes (30).
It was a welcomed sight for a team that has seen its fair share of difficulties from beyond the arc this season. Sacramento ranks 28th in three-point percentage and 30th in three-point attempts. No. 10 knocked down two from long distance, both in the second half.
Darren Collison was also solid, notching his 17th game of the year in which he scored in double-digits with 16. The sixth-year pro also added six assists to help maintain his career-high 6.3 assists per game average.
The win moves Sacramento to 11-10 on the season, and 4-0 on the first game of back-to-backs. Now the team heads to L.A. for its first matchup with the Lakers on Tuesday in a game that will be telecast as a part of Fan Night on NBA TV.
Rudy Gets Defensive
Using his length and athleticism, Rudy Gay was able to contain Utah’s premier scoring threat for much of the night. Although Gordon Hayward started the game hot, recording 12 points in the opening frame, No. 8 would did his part to silence No. 20 the rest of the way.
“I think Rudy Gay took on the challenge, which I think that he really needs to do. With DeMarcus Cousins out, Rudy needs to not only carry us offensively, but he needs to set the tone defensively," said Coach Malone following the game.
The Butler standout, who is averaging a career-best 18.9 points per game, was held to one field goal over his final 27 minutes of playing time and 1-for-7 from behind the arc. Though Gay is most often applauded for his offense, on Monday it was his defense that keyed the team to victory.
Anjali World & Tyga Perform at Halftime
During halftime of Monday’s game, Anjali World took center court to perform her new single, “Nobody” featuring Tyga. It marks the second time Anjali has performed at halftime at Sleep Train Arena, after singing her first single, “We Turn Up” during the 2013-14 season.
To listen to the song, click here.