PHILADELPHIA — Guard/forward Rudy Gay scored 27 points and the Sacramento Kings sank 40 of 50 free throws Wednesday night en route to a 115-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
It was the 76ers’ 18th straight defeat.
Guard Isaiah Thomas added 20 points and center DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings (23-42), who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Gay went 16 of 19 at the line, career highs for makes and attempts. King was 11 of 12, and the Kings sank 26 of 31 free throws in the first half, floor records for conversions and attempts.
Sacramento coach Michael Malone said his team, which began the night fourth in the league in free throws made and attempted, did a “great job of being in attack mode.”
“Obviously 50 is a very high number,” Malone said, “but I think Rudy played in attack mode, as did Isaiah, and when you play through DeMarcus in the post, he’s such a physical player, creates a lot of contact.”
Center Henry Sims had career highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds for the 76ers (15-49), and guard/forward James Anderson had 17 points. Their losing streak is the second-longest in franchise history, exceeded only by a 20-game skid by the 1972-73 squad, which went 9-73. The current streak also equals the 18th-longest in NBA history.
Philadelphia, which saw forward Thaddeus Young score 16 points, extended its franchise-record home slide to 14.
“It’s not doom and gloom,” coach Brett Brown said. “We’ll have another good day tomorrow. I’ll do my best to make sure of that.”
“We were conscious (of the streak),” Cousins said, “and of course you don’t want to be that team that they break their streak on.”
Up four at halftime, the Kings limited the 76ers to 34.9-percent shooting and outscored them 57-44 in the second half. Sacramento led by as many as 22 points in the final two quarters.
Guard Ben McLemore finished with 15 points for the Kings, and forward Jason Thompson had 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
“That’s kind of who we want to be — a team that defends, rebounds and runs with discipline,” Sacramento coach Michael Malone said.
The 76ers moved to an early 16-7 lead as Sims scored six points, but the Kings surged ahead behind Gay, who notched 11 points in a 16-4 flurry, giving Sacramento a 23-20 advantage.
Up 28-24 after a quarter, the Kings maintained the lead through the second period, largely on the strength of their 15-of-17 foul shooting.
Gay finished the half with 18 points, making 12 of his 13 free-throw attempts. Thomas had 17 points, while Sims led the 76ers with 14, exceeding his previous career best by two.
Cousins, limited to seven points and four rebounds in the first half, erupted for 12 and seven in the third quarter, as Sacramento outscored the 76ers 32-22 to stretch its lead to 90-76.
NOTES: The 76ers announced earlier in the day that they had signed F Jarvis Varnado for the rest of the season. Varnado, signed to a 10-day contract on March 1, has played five games to date, averaging 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 12.8 minutes. Coach Brett Brown called him an instinctive shot-blocker, a guy capable of helping the 76ers establish the defensive mindset. “I think he understands that’s how he earns an NBA paycheck — playing defense,” said Brown, who added that while Varnado is “really quiet and very polite,” he also has “a nasty side that competes.” … The Kings are the only NBA team with three players — C DeMarcus Cousins, PG Isaiah Thomas and F Rudy Gay — averaging over 20 points a game, something coach Michael Malone said is “a blessing and a curse.” Because all three are looking for shots, the Kings, last in the league in assists (19.1 per game), are not always as cohesive at the offensive end as Malone might like. “We have to learn to play with each other and make plays for each other,” he said.
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