While Sacramento Kings fans might have some difficulty containing their enthusiasm, coach Michael Malone knows it might take a little time for Rudy Gay and his other new players to get into the flow.
After having to wait a few days, Gay will make his highly anticipated debut for the visiting Kings on Friday night against the surging Phoenix Suns.
Sacramento (6-14) acquired Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray in a seven-player deal with Toronto on Monday, but the three couldn't hit the court until former Kings guard Greivis Vasquez got a visa in New York and passed a physical.
Kings fans gave the three players a standing ovation in the fourth quarter of Monday's 112-97 win against Dallas, but Sacramento fell well short of a third straight victory Wednesday, losing 122-101 to visiting Utah.
The Kings will try to bounce back with help from their newest star, who got to participate in his first practice with the team Thursday.
"We know who we have here now and I just want to add to that," Gay said. "Bring my talents and try to get some more wins."
Malone plans to make things as simple as possible for his new players but will have limited practice time with Sacramento playing seven games in 11 days with five on the road.
"This is going to take a while," Malone said. "In a way, you're starting over again. It's like having training camp on the fly to get these guys caught up to speed."
Sacramento hopes that Gay can form a strong scoring tandem with center DeMarcus Cousins.
"He's a great talent and both of us are selfless players so I don't think it will be any problems playing together," Gay said. "It's always good to have a good center."
Gay, who averaged 19.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in 18 games with Toronto this season, and Cousins will first try to extend Sacramento's four-game win streak over Phoenix (12-9). The Kings swept a home-and-home series with the Suns from Nov. 19-20.
Those losses were part of a season-high, four-game skid for Phoenix, but it enters this matchup having won a season-best three in a row.
Goran Dragic matched a season high with 31 points in a 114-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. Phoenix also got a combined 55 points from Marcus Morris, Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris.
The Morris twins collected their 37 points off the bench while making 16 of 23 shots. The Suns' bench is averaging 45.5 points in the past two games, 9.2 more than its season mark.
"We're just trying to find a hot man. Whoever is going off the bench, that's who we're going to ride with," Marcus Morris said. "At the end of the day, it's all about winning. We're just trying to come out and compete and play hard."
One of Phoenix's bench players of late, Gerald Green, scored 23 points in each of the two losses to Sacramento last month. Dragic had 31 points in the home defeat Nov. 20.
Gay had 17 points and 10 rebounds in his only game against Phoenix this season, a 106-97 road loss for the Raptors on Dec. 6. Isaiah Thomas has been one of the Kings' stars during their win streak over the Suns, averaging 23.0 points and shooting 58.3 percent.
The Associated Press News Service
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