Tyreke Evans returned to Sleep Train Arena for the first time since the sign-and-trade deal that sent the former NBA Rookie of the Year to the New Orleans Pelicans and he came off the bench to score 25 points and dish out 12 assists to pace the Pelicans past the Sacramento Kings 113-100 on Monday night.
For Evans, it was his second double-double of the season (and his second in his last three games) and the points and assists totals were season highs. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for New Orleans and it was the Kings’ fourth loss in their last five games.
The teams played it pretty much even through the first three quarters, with neither team leading by more than seven points and the score tied 77-77 heading into the fourth period.
But four different players scored six points each in the period for the Pelicans, including Evans, along with Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis and seldom-used Brian Roberts, as New Orleans outscored the Kings 36-23 over the final 12 minutes.
Jimmer Fredette tied the game with 5:35 to go with a nice jumper off a feed from Jason Thompson, but New Orleans took off on a 12-2 run to open up a 10-point lead on Anderson’s 3-ball with 3:22 to go.
The Kings never got closer than nine points after that.
Davis had a big game for the Pelicans as well, finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday each scored 17 points and Al-Farouq Aminu finished with 13. Holiday also dished out 10 assists and Aminu and Evans had three steals each.
DeMarcous Cousins led the Kings with 24 points and 14 rebounds and also had two blocked shots, but was limited to 30 minutes by foul trouble. Isaiah Thomas added 21 points, five assists and three steals, Marcus Thornton tossed in 19 points off the bench and Rudy Gay scored just 11 points on 2-of-12 shooting, while also committing six turnovers. Thompson logged three blocked shots.
The Pelicans were 41-for-83 (49.4 percent) from the floor, 8-for-17 (47.1 percent) from deep and 23-for-27 (85.2 percent) from the line. Sacramento countered with 31-for-74, 7-for-17 and 31-for-42.
New Orleans dominated in the paint, outscoring the Kings 54-38 and the Kings turned the ball over 22 times, leading to 29 Pelican points.
The ball movement difference between the sides was very noticeable—New Orleans recorded 28 assists on 41 makes, while Sacramento had just 15 helpers on their 31 field goals.
The Kings fell to 8-19 with the loss, two games ahead of last-place Utah in the Western Conference. Sacramento is idle until after Christmas, resuming their schedule by hosting the Miami Heat Friday night. The Kings are 0-1 against the defending champs this year, losing a 122-103 decision in South Beach Friday night. Tipoff is 7 p.m. Pacific.