TORONTO On Dec. 28, Thomas Robinson didn't play against the New York Knicks. He played a total of 17 minutes over the next three games.
Kings coach Keith Smart was sending the rookie forward a message either play the way we want or play little, if at all. Consider the message received.
Robinson played 23 minutes with the energy and hustle the Kings want in a 105-96 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday. Robinson had five points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal.
"Yeah, it hit me," Robinson said. "I tried to fight it. Maybe it was just (Friday), maybe it's a new start, I don't know. I just know when I do get the chance from now on, I'm going to be who I am."
Robinson, drafted fifth overall, said he listened to the wrong people and his approach to the season was wrong.
"I got away from who I am," Robinson said. "I've never been a 20-point scorer or played like that. I've always been a hustle guy, and I got away from that, and it didn't help me. I don't mind being that guy. That's what got me here, and that's what's going to keep me here."
Aiming for Monday Tyreke Evans joined the Kings in Toronto after seeing Dr. Steve Lombardo on Wednesday in Los Angeles for a second opinion on his sore left knee.
Evans worked out Thursday and Friday in Toronto and hopes to play when the Kings host the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.
"It feels better," Evans said. "I got a good workout in. We'll see how it feels (today). It feels better than it did last time. There's been a little swelling, but I think I'll be ready to go on Monday."
Evans has missed 15 games this season because of his knee. He hasn't played since being pulled after 10 minutes on Dec. 16 against the Denver Nuggets because of his knee.
Evans is the Kings' second-leading scorer at 15.1 points per game.
More progress Marcus Thornton missed his third game because of a sprained left ankle.
The veteran guard had been starting for Evans before landing awkwardly Sunday against the Boston Celtics.
Thornton has spent most of the trip in a walking boot but has progressed.
"He was out of the boot and did some spot shooting (Friday morning), so that was a positive sign," Smart said.
Thornton also "did a little light jogging," Smart said, but nothing strenuous.