Comfortable in Sacramento, Casspi nets career-high 31 points

26-year-old Israeli likely takes significant step towards receiving the contract extension he is hoping for from the Sacramento Kings.

April 9, 2015 05:13
1 minute read.
Israeli basketball star Omri Casspi of the Sacramento Kings

Israeli basketball star Omri Casspi of the Sacramento Kings. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Omri Casspi likely took a significant step towards receiving the contract extension he is hoping for from the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, building on his recent excellent play with a career-high 31 points in the 116-111 home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The 26-year-old Israeli made 12-of- 20 shots, both career highs, including four three-pointers. He also grabbed five rebounds in his 35 minutes on the floor to help the Kings snap their fivegame losing streak.

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“I’m happy we won the game more than anything,” said Casspi, whose one-year contract will come to an end following the completion of the regular season next week. “I felt I got in a good rhythm and wasn’t forcing shots and kind of taking what the team gave me.”

Casspi hasn’t hidden his desire to remain in Sacramento, saying in an interview with the Sacramento Bee last month: “I want to come back here so badly. I love the community and I feel like the team is finally moving in the right direction.”

His play since the hiring of head coach George Karl in February, and especially over recent weeks, should give him plenty of reasons for optimism, with the Israeli forward making the most of the increased opportunity he has been given, averaging 13.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 29.6 minutes on court over the team’s last 12 games.

“[Casspi] was due for it,” said teammate Rudy Gay, who finished with 33 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

“He’s been playing hard. He’s been playing really good basketball and been real consistent as of late.”

Casspi scored 16 of his points in the pivotal third quarter and ended up improving his previous career high by seven points to lead the Kings to their 27th win of the season (27-50).

“I enjoyed the offense after the first quarter,’’ Karl said. ‘’We had good ball movement and Omri got hot in the third quarter and made some big threes for us.’’

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