Kings' Rudy Gay gets it done at rim in impressive performance against Rockets

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Gay has struggled in the restricted area this season, but he got it done at the rim in a big win over Houston on Sunday.

New Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay has come under a lot of fire in recent years for his highly inefficient ways on offense. After posting a career-low mark in field goal percentage last season, Gay was shooting just 38.8 percent from the field when the Toronto Raptors dealt him to Sacramento.

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In two games with the Kings, Gay has looked like a new player. In his Kings debut, Gay scored 24 points on just 12 shots in a loss to the Phoenix Suns. The 27-year-old followed that up with another strong effort in an impressive 106-91 victory over the Houston Rockets in his first game in Sacramento as a King.

Gay tallied 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting in the win, while also notching five rebounds, four steals and four assists. It was just the fifth time all season Gay recorded at least four assists in a game, and Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas said he was impressed by Gay's complete game, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

"I knew he was good," Isaiah Thomas said after his club's 106-91 victory, "but when he's on your team, you really see all the things he can do out there besides score."

Gay also talked about his improved playmaking after the game, but what may have been most encouraging about his performance against the Rockets was the manner in which he scored his points.

One of the reasons why Gay's shooting percentage has been so low this season is because of his mediocre work around the basket. Gay is shooting just 54.7 percent in the restricted area this season per NBA.com's stats page, and while that's not a horrible mark, it should be better given his size, athleticism and talent.

The reason that mark is even that high is because Gay actually finished well at the rim against Houston. The swingman made all six of his shots in the restricted area, an impressive feat considering the Rockets employ Dwight Howard in the middle.

These last two games are certainly a small sample size, and Gay did struggle outside of the restricted area, going just 4-of-14 on all other shots Sunday. But his last two performances could be a sign of good things to come for Sacramento, and head coach Mike Malone is liking what he sees from his young talent thus far, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee:

"Now you have two guys that you can trust with the ball, Rudy and Isaiah Thomas, all around the perimeter," Malone said. "Then you have a go-to guy in the post with DeMarcus Cousins. There's three different pieces that you can go to throughout the game."

The Kings likely have no chance at a playoff berth this season because a deep hole has already been dug and the Western Conference is loaded. But at the very least, perhaps that trio can provide plenty of entertainment.

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