Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lowly Kings beat Raptors

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Tyreke Evans has been a solid scorer throughout his four-year NBA career.
Still, the one thing he’s always lacked is a consistent outside shot.

Evans made consecutive three-pointers late in the game, and teammate DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 13 rebounds, to help the Sacramento Kings beat the struggling Toronto Raptors 107-100 last night.
The Kings used strong fourth-quarter play from Cousins and Evans to earn a rare victory. Sacramento had dropped nine of its previous 11 games, including an embarrassing 35-point loss Sunday against the L.A. Clippers.
Evans, back in the starting lineup after missing the past two games with a bruised left knee, scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter.
The point total wasn’t a surprise, but hitting back-to-back threes was unexpected. Evans entered the season as a 25 percent career shooter from three-point territory and had made just six-of-22 attempts this season.
With the game tied at 95, Evans put the Kings on top for good with a three-pointer, then connected on another one from the same spot 30 seconds later, giving Sacramento a 101-95 lead with 1:43 to go.
Both times Evans stared at the Toronto bench defiantly after sinking his shot.
“I’m happy for him, especially on his outside shooting,” said Cousins, who scored seven points in the final 5:28.
“If Tyreke gets confidence in that shot, he’s going to be an incredible player.”
Kyle Lowry had a huge second half, scoring 29 points. He pulled the Raptors within four on his fourth three of the game with 18 seconds left, but the Kings made free throws to secure the victory.
“Tyreke made two huge threes and pretty much put the game away,” Lowry noted.
“He’s just coming off an injury, so I know he’s not 100 percent,” Lowry added. “But those threes showed how he is a big-time competitor.
“And Cousins is just a bull. He’s very talented and everyone knows that.”
It’s been a rare occurrence this season when both Cousins and Evans are major offensive contributors. But that was the case against the Raptors.
“That’s very important. I think it starts with us two,” Evans said. “DeMarcus in the post and me in the pick-and-rolls getting into the paint.
“That’s one of the things I wanted to do tonight—drive the ball and get fouled.”
Evans started slow, missing his first four shots in the first quarter. He had seven points at halftime, but began connecting in the third and finished 7-of-16.
He struggled a bit from the free throw line, shooting 7-of-12.
“I thought he was pressing in his first game back,” said Kings’ coach Keith Smart.
“But he settled down and he didn’t force the issue.”
Jason Thompson added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings while John Salmons scored 12 and Aaron Brooks 11.
Lowry had a season-high 34 points—two below his career best. He also added 11 assists and five rebounds for the Raptors, who now have lost two-straight and eight of nine.
Mickael Pietrus scored 21 points, DeMar DeRozan added 14, and Ed Davis chipped in 13 points and 11 rebounds.
“That’s the ball game right there: they had 56 points in the paint,” noted Raptors’ coach Dwane Casey.
“They had their way with us in the paint.”
Elsewhere in the NBA, Boston beat Minnesota 104-94, New York nipped Charlotte 100-98, Indiana downed Portland 99-92, Golden State shaded Detroit 104-97, the L.A. Lakers dumped New Orleans 103-87, and Atlanta topped Denver 108-104.
Chicago beat Cleveland 95-85, San Antonio downed Milwaukee 110-99, Utah upended Orlando 87-81, and the L.A. Clippers bounced Dallas 112-90.

More stories