Many nights, the Kings search for a player to provide scoring off the bench.
Who would have predicted Monday night that player would be Reggie Evans?
Ive been more of a rebounder and a defender than anything, Evans said. Its just ironic that a couple things were going on offense. I dont think its underrated or overrated. I just look at it as doing what it takes to get a win.
Evans had 10 points and a season-high 13 rebounds to jolt the sluggish Kings, who ended a three-game losing streak by beating the New Orleans Pelicans 96-89 at Sleep Train Arena.
Evans has been a King for less than two weeks after being acquired just before the trading deadline in the deal that sent Marcus Thornton to Brooklyn. But Evans already has set a Kings standard for effort.
That rubs off on everybody, said guard Isaiah Thomas. Because when hes playing hard and youre not, its a big difference. So once he gets in the game, that five is playing so hard together, and its good basketball.
The Kings needed that boost from Evans as the Pelicans (23-37), who have lost eight consecutive games, led 52-46 with 6:39 left in the third quarter. Evans played 8:55 in the third, grabbing five rebounds and helping the Kings lead 68-59 entering the fourth quarter.
When he wasnt grabbing a rebound, Evans was jockeying for position and making it hard for the Pelicans to secure the ball.
Hes a winning basketball player. He makes winning plays, Thomas said. Hes unselfish, and hes going to do whatever it takes. Hes going to do a lot of things guys dont want to do dive on the floor, get offensive rebounds, guarding guys that are bigger than him and boxing them out. He helps us in so many ways other than scoring.
Kings coach Michael Malone is not surprised by how well Evans has fit in and instantly earned the respect of his teammates. Malone called Evans effort inspiring.
Reggie, I dont care where hes playing or who hes playing with, is going to bring great effort every night, every minute hes on the floor, Malone said. He makes things happen out there.
Evans said its his job to set an example for his teammates, especially younger players who do not understand the work habits needed on a winning team. He said that starts in how the Kings approach practice and film study.
Every day its all about being a professional and respecting the game of basketball, Evans said.
Evans went from Brooklyn, a likely playoff team in the East, to the Kings (21-39), who are tied for last in the Western Conference. Evans said the trade didnt affect him because the teams records arent drastically different. The Nets (29-29) reached .500 for the first time since November with a win Monday.
Its just that one teams in the East and one teams in the West, Evans said.
The Kings got most of their offense from Thomas (22 points, five assists) and DeMarcus Cousins (23 points, 12 rebounds).
Tyreke Evans, in his second game back in Sacramento after four seasons with the Kings, led New Orleans with 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Pelicans All-Star forward Anthony Davis had an off night, shooting 4 of 14 and finishing with 13 points and five rebounds. Davis, who leads the NBA in blocked shots per game, had none Monday.
Kings vs. Pelicans video highlights
Follow The Bees Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.