Fresh off a two-game road trip where they took one of two, the Sacramento Kings play their next five games at home. That gives Rudy Gay plenty of time to mesh with his teammates, but judging by his output thus far, Gay doesn’t need anymore time to gel. Gay has scored 20 in six of the 10 games he’s played as a King. Sacramento beat a short-handed Miami Heat team, then followed it up with a 110-106 win over the Houston Rockets Tuesday. That game showed the Kings are much improved overall with Gay in the lineup.
That bodes well for the Kings who are 6-11 at home. Sacramento is also 10 games below .500, but have won six of 10 games in December. They take on the Philadelphia 76ers Thursday and will rely heavily on their three-headed monster of DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas and Gay. The Kings, however, are 3-5 against Eastern Conference teams this year and struggle on defense. Philadelphia won the last meeting 116-103 behind the one-two punch of Jrue Holiday and Dorell Wright. But that was a different Kings team last year.
I expect Rudy Gay to make things hard on Wright this time around. Gay is also a much better scoring option than John Salmons who played in the last game. The offense will come, but the defense has been spotty. The Kings have given up an average of 111 points per game to their last several opponents and without a commitment to defense this team will likely come up short against a team they should beat. Five games and five wins would put the Kings much closer to .500 and playoff contention.
If the Kings want to turn their season around before falling out completely they need to win games like this and establish a winning attitude at home.