Rudy Gay dunks hard on Patrick Beverley as Kings top Rockets

Tuesday's matchup between the Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets offered plenty for fans to talk about before its final few minutes. Kings wing Ben McLemore had an incredible dunk, Jason Terry got a notable King's manager kicked out of the crowd, and James Harden put another entry on his lengthy list of embarrassing instances of lackluster effort. But all those instances seemed relatively forgettable once Rudy Gay dunked.

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Up 104-94 with 2:20 remaining in regulation, the Kings looked headed for an impressive win over the Rockets as Rajon Rondo served his one-game suspension for his homophobic tirade directed at referee Bill Kennedy. If anything remained in doubt, though, then the veteran Gay ended it with this transition dunk on Rockets guard Patrick Beverley:

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The Kings rode that highlight to an eventual 107-97 victory over the still-confounding Rockets, who trailed by as many as 16 points in the third quarter before mounting their usual semi-comeback to ensure they would not lose by blowout. At 12-14, they sit at a respectable seventh in the West standings but continue to look like a shadow of the squad that made the conference finals last spring. Reports of unhappiness abound, and Dwight Howard tried to quell some of the concerns after the game:

The Kings looked like the faster, more engaged team on Tuesday by some distance. Collison took over primary playmaking dutes with Rondo out and played well (14 points and 13 assists) despite eight turnovers. However, the fate of the Kings depended on DeMarcus Cousins, as ever. The star big man finished with 26 points (7-of-17 FG, 10-of 14 FT) and 12 rebounds as part of his domination of Howard (four points and four rebounds in 27 minutes), who looks too slow to serve as linchpin of a functional defense. The Kings are now 8-7 in games with Cousins this season, and the losses are arguably all respectable ones:

In fact, the worst moment of Cousins's night came on one of the Kings' best highlights. With 8:02 remaining in the third quarter, McLemore stole the ball from Harden and finished loudly at the other end with this dunk from the free-throw circle:



Keep an eye on Jason Terry in that clip, because he fell into the crowd in the aftermath of McLemore's slam. Terry tried to break his fall by bracing himself against a fan, but the fan slapped Terry away in response.

Such things happen fairly often. What made this time notable was that the fan was later identified as Andrew Rogers, Cousins's manager. Terry pointed out Rogers to officials, who had him removed from his spot. Perhaps that expulsion inspired Cousins to keep dominating Houston.

Then again, the Rockets didn't push back much throughout the night. Harden put up a good line with 33 points on 10-of-18 shooting, but he committed seven turnovers and didn't seem engaged with much consistency. This lackadaisical lay-up can be added to his catalog of lowlights:


It's entirely possible that the Rockets will snap back into shape, but 24 games is a large enough sample size to decide that a return to contention is no certainty. Maybe they're just not very good. Who would have thought that the Kings would be providing their fans with more reasons for mid-December optimism?

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!