Rudy Gay

Gregg Popovich makes lineup change ahead of Game 2 vs Warriors

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USATSI

Gregg Popovich makes lineup change ahead of Game 2 vs Warriors

OAKLAND -- To the surprise of no one, including the Warriors, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich responded to being routed in Game 1 by altering his starting lineup for Game 2 on Monday night.

Veteran Rudy Gay, started only six times in the regular season, will replace Kyle Anderson at power forward.

“Not that Kyle did anything wrong,” Popovich said 90 minutes before tipoff at Oracle Arena. “It’s just something we’re going to do.”

This will be the sixth different San Antonio starting lineup that the Warriors have seen in six games, counting four in the regular season.

Gay came off the bench in Game 1 and led the Spurs in scoring with 15 points in 22 minutes in a 113-92 loss. He averaged 11.5 points and 21.6 minutes during the regular season, with season-high of 22 points, accomplished twice.

“We need to score,” Popovich said. “We always harp about defense -- and (the Warriors) are hard to guard -- but we need to score.”

Gay likely will defend Kevin Durant on end -- Danny Green drew the bulk of that assignment in Game 1 -- while trying to team with center LaMarcus Aldridge to generate offense through pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop actions.

Gameday: Streaking Kings host Spurs, welcome back old friend

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USATSI

Gameday: Streaking Kings host Spurs, welcome back old friend

Home for the holidays. After a successful 2-2 road trip, the Sacramento Kings return to Golden 1 Center for a pre-Christmas matchup against familiar face Rudy Gay and the San Antonio Spurs.

Zach Randolph has been a monster for Sacramento, leading the team in both points and rebounds on the season. Against the Nets on Wednesday, the 17-year NBA veteran grabbed his 10,000 rebound, making him just the 20th player in NBA history to score 18,000 or more points to go with 10,000-plus rebounds.

Rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox is out for the next two weeks at a minimum due to a slight tear in the right quadricep muscle. Fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic will likely start in his place.

San Antonio continues to be the model NBA franchise. They’ve made the playoffs 20 straight times and an astounding 37 of 41 times playoff appearances since joining the NBA for 1976-77 season. Gregg Popovich has a solid veteran team and he’s looking for his 19th straight season with 50 or more victories.

BETTING LINE:
Spurs by 7.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Kings vs. Spurs Size -- It’s no secret that the Sacramento Kings lack size at the small forward position. Saturday against the Spurs, they’ll not only face All-Star Kawhi Leonard, but also Gay. Garrett Temple will likely get the start, but expect Dave Joerger to turn to Vince Carter, Justin Jackson and Malachi Richardson to slow San Antonio’s wings.

WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 11-20, fourth place in Pacific

Spurs: 22-11, second place in Southwest

INJURY REPORT:
Kings: PG De’Aaron Fox (slight right quad tear) out a minimum of two weeks, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January at the earliest.

Spurs: C Pau Gasol (groin) questionable, SG Danny Green (groin) questionable.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
Guard the Mid-Range -- With the NBA trend moving towards ridiculous numbers of 3-point attempts, San Antonio has chosen their own path. They shoot more mid-range jumpers than any team in the league, but they do so with precision. Sacramento needs to stay alert defensively and play as a team if they hope to upset the Spurs.

Experience vs. Youth -- The Kings’ lack of experience has been an issue all season. With 10 players on rookie deals, it’s a work in progress for head coach Dave Joerger. San Antonio on the other hand has five players with 11 years of NBA experience of more, including Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker who have spent the last 16 seasons together with the Spurs.

Keep it Close at Home -- Sacramento has played 19 games on the road to just 12 at Golden 1 Center. They are 5-7 at home and 6-13 on the road so far. They are playing an aging Spurs lineup that is at the end of a three game road trip over a four night stretch. If they can stay close heading to the fourth quarter, the home crowd might be able to carry them home.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Spurs swept the Kings 4-0 last season and are currently riding a 10 game win streak over the Kings. San Antonio holds an 88-39 lead during the Sacramento-era and a 116-55 advantage all-time.

QUOTE:
“Love the city of Sacramento and my former teammates like brothers. As far as it being another game, it is. I’m not petty or have any hate in my heart. Just trying to focus on my craft.” -Rudy Gay via Twitter

Back in Sacramento, Rudy Gay reflects on time with Kings: 'A lot of learning'

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AP

Back in Sacramento, Rudy Gay reflects on time with Kings: 'A lot of learning'

SACRAMENTO -- The last time Kings fans saw Rudy Gay in a basketball uniform, he was pounding the floor of the Golden 1 Center in frustration after tearing his right Achilles tendon. It was the dramatic conclusion of Gay’s career in Sacramento, one that left even the most hardened fan filled with emotion.

The veteran forward left Sacramento over the summer, turning down a $14.3 million player option. He’s now a member of the San Antonio Spurs who are in town to face off with the Kings in the preseason opener.

“I’ve never even been in the other side of this building, so I’m learning,” Gay said following shootaround. “Little bit of emotions. I’m looking at the spot where I hurt myself and I’m just glad to be back out here and healthy.”

Gay, 31, spent three and a half seasons in Sacramento uniform, playing Robin to DeMarcus Cousins’ Batman. He finished his Kings career averaging 19.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists over 223 games.

“It was a learning experience,” Gay said of his time in Sacramento. “I met a lot of great people. Some of the best fans I’ve ever played for. A lot of learning. I’ve been through a lot here and it’s going to mold and shape the rest of my career.”

Despite the injury, Gay has been cleared for basketball duties. He’s spent the week training with his teammates in preparation for the 2017-18 season. He’s chomping at the bit to get his first game action, but coach Gregg Popovich is going to err on the side of caution when it comes to early season playing time.

“They say not, I say yes, that’s just what I do, I’m more conservative,” Popovich said as to whether Gay’s playing time should be limited. “I’ll probably bring him along more slowly than he’s going to want to. When he gets after me like Manu (Ginobili) or Timmy (Duncan) does, then I’ll lighten up.”

Gay will not play Monday night in Sacramento. Popovich will let him get stronger and more comfortable in the Spurs system. He’ll be asked to play both forward positions this season in San Antonio and he looked noticeably bigger as he fielded questions sitting courtside.

The Kings open their 2017-18 preseason against the Spurs Monday night at Golden 1 Center. Sacramento travels to San Antonio later in the week where they’ll see Gay and his teammates at the AT&T Center on Friday evening.