If you’re a fan of good basketball, this wasn’t the game for you. Turnovers, free throws and poor defense were far too abundant. But for a Sacramento Kings team riding a three-game losing streak, taking down the Philadelphia 76ers, losers of 17 straight, was a must. Against most other teams, the Kings effort would not have been good enough. A slow start that featured minimal ball movement (just six first-half assists) had Philly lurking. However, unlike a night ago in Detroit, Sacramento took care of business in the second half. The Kings stepped their game up, and the Sixers quickly wilted, as Sacramento took an easy 115-98 victory.
RUDY GAY HAS HIS WAY – Rudy Gay’s talents on the offensive end are easy to see, and against a team like Philadelphia that really lacks a wing defender, the game becomes simple. Gay (35 MIN, 27 PTS, 5-12 FG, 16-19 FT, 7 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 4 TO)was ultra efficient as a scorer — not because of a hot shooting touch, but because of his ability to get to the line. Gay pressed the issue, attacked the rim and made the Sixers respond. Gay was also productive as a distributor, doling out the starters’ first four assists in the first half. With Gay controlling his matchup, it made things easier for everybody else on the Kings.
THOMPSON THRIVES AS RESERVE – For the second straight night, Jason Thompson was a member of the second unit, giving up his starting spot in Philly to Derrick Williams. Thompson (26 MIN, 14 PTS, 6-10 FG, 7 REB, 1 BLK) showed Wednesday why he holds so much value in that role. JT played that backup center spot and really got a chance to showcase his own offense, something that is rare playing alongside DeMarcus Cousins. Thompson scored on some slick post moves and showed great touch around the basket. He also battled for loose balls on both ends and altered some shots defensively. It seems likely that he will continue to fulfill that third big man role off the Kings bench for the remainder of the season.
BEN MAC FINDS THE STROKE – Ben McLemore has such a sweet shooting stroke; it’s nice when they actually find the net. His ball-handling continues to be a clear area of improvement, but against the Sixers, McLemore (28 MIN, 15 PTS, 5-7 FG, 3-5 3FG, 3 TO) got his feet set and connected continuously from the perimeter. He has shot the ball so poorly as a rookie that you need these games to remind you how good he can be. Wednesday marked the first time McLemore hit three triples in a game since Jan. 22.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Isaiah Thomas (37 MIN, 20 PTS, 4-10 FG, 11-12 FT, 5 REB, 6 AST, 4 STL, 4 TO) had trouble with the bigger Michael Carter-Williams in the first half, but you can’t hold down the Husky for long. Isaiah got going in the second half and like Gay, he benefited from getting to the line … Derrick Williams (31 MIN, 5 PTS, 1-5 FG, 6 REB, 2 STL, 2 TO) started and while he did next to nothing offensively, Coach Michael Malone praised him postgame for his defense on Thaddeus Young, who shot just 5-for-18 … The Kings made 40-of-50 from the free throw line, coming eight attempts short of the Sacramento record, according to Grant Napear.