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  • Rich Pendroncelli / Associated Press

    Kings forward John Salmons drives to the basket past Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic.

  • Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

    Minnesota's Derrick Williams goes to the basket against Kings center DeMarcus Cousins in the first quarter. Williams scored 12 points, while Cousins had 15 points, along with 14 rebounds.

Tyreke Evans' 'attack mode' in 2nd half results in Kings win

Published: Friday, Mar. 22, 2013 - 12:05 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013 - 12:13 pm

Tyreke Evans had a first half he'd like to forget, but if you don't remember how it went, that would be understandable.

By his own admission, Evans didn't do much in the first two quarters of Thursday's game against Minnesota.

"The first half, I was kind of going through the motions," Evans said. "Wasn't being aggressive, wasn't in a groove at all."

Evans was the opposite in the second half, scoring 19 of his 21 points as the Kings rallied to beat the Timberwolves 101-98 at Sleep Train Arena.

Evans took only three shots in the first half, making one. But in the second half, he made 7 of his 8 shots and got to the free-throw line five times after no attempts in the first half.

Evans' play in the first half mirrored the Kings' overall effort. It was sluggish and a step slow as the T-wolves led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter.

Isaiah Thomas helped rally the Kings in the second quarter to cut the lead to 57-53 at halftime, and then told Evans it was time for him to get engaged.

"I told him to start the second half, 'We need you to get going,' " Thomas said. " 'I'm going to try to run some stuff through you,' and he did a good job of being in attack mode. He has to learn he has to be in attack mode from tipoff, because when he's in attack mode, he really helps us."

Evans was asked how a player whose game is predicated on aggression and getting to the basket could go long stretches without doing that. It's not the first time this season that Evans has been a nonfactor on offense for a long period of time.

"I didn't get the chance," Evans said. "I only touched the (ball) like three times. But after I did (start) touching, you saw what I could do. It was a matter of me being patient and taking what the defense gives me."

The defense gave Evans plenty of chances because the Kings were able to get into transition, where Evans is at his best, and finished with 28 fast-break points to match their season high.

"It's a long game, 48 minutes," Evans said. "And every chance I get I try to stay patient and make the right play. And when I get a chance to attack, attack."

Evans scored 11 of the Kings' 22 points in the final period, including a seven-foot fadeaway jumper with 41.3 seconds left to give the Kings a 101-97 lead after Minnesota had gone on a 10-2 run to make the score 99-97.

Evans finished with 21 points, five rebounds and five assists.

"At some point, he was doing everything – scoring, assisting," Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio said. "He's a good player. He's played amazing. I think the victory is because of him."

Evans had one turnover in the fourth that could have been costly. On his last drive, he lost the ball with 11.9 seconds to play, and that gave the Timberwolves (23-43) a final chance to tie the game.

But the Kings scrambled on defense, and Dante Cunningham missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.

The win for the Kings (25-44) was the 19th at home this season, the most since Sacramento won 26 home games in the 2007-08 season.

Thomas finished with a team-high 24 points. DeMarcus Cousins added 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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