SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Rudy Gay said he didn’t harbour a sense of revenge Wednesday night facing his former team the Toronto Raptors for the first time since a December trade.
His numbers said it all.
DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 10 rebounds, Gay added 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the Kings held off the Raptors in the fourth quarter for a 109-101 victory.
The Dec. 9 trade brought Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray to Sacramento in exchange for Patterson, John Salmons, Greivis Vasquez and Chuck Hayes.
The trade has worked well for both teams. Since the shake-up, the Raptors have compiled an 18-11 record and own the third best overall record in the Eastern Conference. They had an 8-12 mark before the deal.
Gay has thrived in his role as a key figure offensively. The versatile forward has averaged 20.7 points and shot 53 per cent in his first 25 games with the Kings. Gay wasn’t nearly as effective with the Raptors, shooting just under 39 per cent in his second season in Toronto.
“It was great to see Rudy have such a successful game tonight,” said Gray, who didn’t play. “No matter what the scenario, it’s really important when you go against your ex-team. You always want to show them what they’re missing. I think Rudy did that.”
Toronto coach Dwane Casey wished his team was a little more focused on effort rather than the socializing that took place between the two teams.
“I just thought our whole disposition was off. We’re out there hugging and giving out fives and all that,” Casey said. “Well, this is a business. I didn’t think our disposition at the beginning of the game was in fighting mode or hungry mode. We haven’t done anything, I’ll keep repeating this, we haven’t done anything in this league yet.”
The Kings led by 20 points going into the final quarter, when Toronto got going offensively and cut the lead to five points with under a minute to play. But the Kings converted six consecutive free throws in the final minute to seal their second straight victory after losing seven straight.
“I think we kept our composure, were very poised down the stretch, and came out with a good home victory,” Cousins said.
Kyle Lowry had 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Raptors, who had won four of their last five. Demar DeRozan scored 18 points, Patrick Patterson 14 and Steve Novak 12, all in the fourth quarter.
DeRozan, who entered the game averaging 22 points, shot 5 of 17. He added six rebounds and four assists.
Novak played only 34 seconds through three quarters, but in the fourth he hit three 3-pointers, helping the Raptors outscore the Kings 29-17.
“The game was bizarre; we made it interesting,” Kings coach Michael Malone said. “I’m glad they didn’t play Steve Novak more or it would have been a long night.”
Isaiah Thomas added 23 points for the Kings and guard Marcus Thornton had 12, all in the first half.
Thornton hit the floor hard at the offensive end late in the second quarter and didn’t return. He bruised hip and knee in the fall, but X-rays were negative. He may get an MRI on Thursday.
New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who took over for David Stern on Saturday as the league’s fifth commissioner, attended the game. He drew a standing ovation when he was introduced to the sellout crowd
Before the game, Silver toured Sacramento’s planned downtown arena and sat with the Kings’ new ownership group during a portion of the game.
NOTES: The Kings played without reserve forward Derrick Williams, who was out with a strained right foot. … Despite shooting 37.5 per cent in the first quarter, Sacramento still led 30-23. … Lowry was called for a technical midway through the second quarter. … Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star, sat courtside with William Bell, the mayor of Birmingham, Ala.
© 2014 The Canadian Press