It was obvious Rudy Gay was tired late in the fourth quarter Tuesday night.

But his Kings teammates kept giving him the ball, wanting him to shoot.

The team that at its worst can be a collection of players all about getting their own numbers was asking Gay to keep shooting.

“I never had people tell me to be more aggressive; you have a bunch of points,” Gay said with a grin. “Especially not on this team.”

He finished with a bunch of points – 41 to match his career high – as the Kings ended a two-game losing streak by beating the New Orleans Pelicans 114-97 at New Orleans Arena.
Gay said he remembered the last time he scored 41. It was Dec. 13, 2009, playing for Memphis at Miami.

“I’ve flirted with it a couple of times, a bunch of times,” he said. “It was a long time ago. I was a different player then.”

Gay made 16 of 25 shots, including 5 of 8 3-point attempts, in scoring the most points by a King this season. He also had eight rebounds and five assists, becoming the first player in Sacramento history to have at least 40 points with that many rebounds and assists.

His productive stat line was what the Kings expected when they acquired him Dec. 9 from Toronto.

“Every time he does that, I get a smile because there were so many of these so-called analytic experts that called him one of the most inefficient players in the NBA,” Kings coach Michael Malone said. “And every game he’s been with us, he’s been one of the most efficient players I’ve been around. I’m happy for him, and obviously, we needed all 41points to get the win.”

Gay was coming off his worst game as a King. He scored six points and was ejected after being assessed two technical fouls in a blowout loss in Oklahoma City on Sunday.

Gay said his performance Tuesday wasn’t about proving a point after what happened Sunday.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know how much I had scored. I was just worried about getting the win,” Gay said. “I found out when I came back to the bench; Quincy (Acy) said something to me.