Kings beat Pacers for fourth straight win
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)Although he sat out much of the fourth quarter with foul problems, Tyreke Evans was on the court and contributing heavily when the Sacramento Kings needed him the most Wednesday night.
The talented rookie guard from Memphis showed considerable poise, making five free throws in the final 44 seconds and scoring 26 points for the Kings, who won their fourth straight game, beating the Indiana Pacers 110-105 on Wednesday night.
Evans, who has scored 20 or more points in 10 of 17 games this season, was honored Tuesday as the Western Conference's Rookie of the Month for November.
"So I guess it wasn't luck for Tyreke, he can play in December, too," joked Kings coach Paul Westphal.
The Kings won only 17 games last season when they had the NBA's worst record. A sweep of all four games of their homestand improved Sacramento to a surprising 9-8, including an 8-2 record this season at Arco Arena. A relatively soft schedule gets more difficult the rest of December, starting with a road game Saturday in Phoenix.
"If we have a winning record at this time next week maybe I'll smoke a cigar," Westphal said.
Jason Thompson had 22 points, Spencer Hawes 21, Andres Nocioni 13 points and Omri Casspi 10 for the Kings, who went 7 of 10 from 3-point range in the second half.
Despite 19 turnovers, the Kings played an unselfish style that has typified their early season play. Six Kings had three or more assists.
"What I take from this game is we had 12 assists on 40 makes and they had 28 assists on 41 makes," Troy Murphy said. "I'd say it is something we need to take pride in. Twelve assists in a gosh darn game is ridiculous."
Danny Granger made six 3-pointers and scored 33 points for the Pacers, who have lost three straight. Earl Watson had 16 points, Dahntay Jones added 15 and Jeff Foster tied a career high with 18 rebounds.
Granger, who scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, made a 3-pointer with 1:13 left to cut the Kings' lead to five at 105-100.
Evans, who also six assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes, got off to a fast start, scoring 16 points in the first quarter. But he went to the bench with three fouls midway through the second quarter and played more cautiously the rest of the game.
"I didn't let it get me frustrated, the ticky-tack fouls," Evans said. "I was just trying to me aggressive on defense. It worked out. At the end of the game I had the ball in my hands, that's the way it's been all of my life. I'm comfortable with that."
The Pacers have dropped seven of eight games, including five losses of 10 or more points. Indiana has two remaining games on its four-game trip, against Utah on Friday night and the Clippers on Saturday night.
"They have a pretty nice basketball team, and they are doing it without (injured) Kevin Martin, which is even more impressive," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "They will compete for a playoff spot."
Scoreless through three quarters in limited playing time, Sergio Rodriguez made a 3-pointer and followed with a layup in a crowd, putting the Kings ahead 98-88 with 7:44 left in the game.
Nocioni's two 3-pointers late in the third quarter helped the Kings establish an 88-81 lead heading into the fourth.
NOTES: The Kings had 11 turnovers in game's first 14 minutes. ... Indiana's Brandon Rush, who started the season's first 15 games at guard, was replaced by Jones and didn't enter the game until the fourth quarter. ... Minus Granger, the Pacers missed 10 of 11 3-point shots.