NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Rudy Gay went from ejection to redemption in just a couple of days.
One game after a miserable showing in Oklahoma City, Gay tied a career high with 41 points and the Sacramento Kings cruised to a 114-97 victory at the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night.
"Honestly, I didn't even know how much I scored," Gay said. "It was more about getting the win."
In a loss two nights earlier to the Thunder, Gay scored only six points before being sent off the court with two technical fouls in the fourth quarter. But Gay hit 16 of 25 shots in the Big Easy, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range, to match a point total he last put up on Dec. 13, 2009, in Miami.
It was going so well for Gay that he casually walked the ball up the court with an eye on the clock late in the third quarter, and then drilled a pull-up jumper from 27 feet.
"He put on a show tonight, coming off a game in Oklahoma City where he didn't play very well and got thrown out," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "He wanted to bounce back and show everybody what he is capable of."
DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for the Kings, who have won five of eight. Isaiah Thomas added 20 points and 11 assists.
"When in doubt, go to Rudy and you'll get an assist," Thomas said. "He really carried us tonight."
Tyreke Evans scored 17 for New Orleans, which trimmed a 23-point deficit to six shortly before halftime, only to fall behind by 23 again in the third quarter and remain behind by double digits the rest of the way.
Anthony Davis scored 16 points and blocked four shots, and New Orleans rookie center Jeff Withey had a career-high 14 points, but that was not nearly enough to prevent the Pelicans from losing for the ninth time in 10 games. The latest loss came one night after the Pelicans snapped an eight-game skid in Memphis.
"We just didn't have a lot of juice collectively from our starters tonight and certainly didn't play with any kind of intensity that was comparable to what we did last night," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. "That is just part of being a pro and understanding that when you have an emotional win like we did last night, there's a quick turnaround."
Quincy Acy grabbed 10 rebounds for the Kings, who outrebounded New Orleans 46-35.
The Kings were the sharper team from the outset, shooting 70 percent (14 of 20) in the first period, during which they scored 38 points and built an 18-point lead.