Kings 112, Wizards 109
Sacramento Kings rookie Tyreke Evans showed his youthful side
with a crucial late mistake, then quickly made amends like a
Evans scored 26 points and came up with a steal and two clutch
free throws in the closing seconds for the Kings, who held on for a
112-109 victory over the struggling Washington Wizards on Wednesday
On a night when the 20-year-old Evans wouldn’t have been able to
legally take advantage of dollar beer night, he thrilled an
enthusiastic crowd of 16,579 instead. He had 10 fourth-quarter
points and added six rebounds and six assists playing for the first
time on national TV (ESPN) in his NBA career.
“There has not really been a time when this coaching staff
hasn’t been amazed by this kid,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said.
“He got a (national) stage and he showed up. We’ve got a kid
that’s somebody in this league and it’s really fun to see that and
have this building rocking.”
The rocking stopped momentarily when Evans was caught holding
Gilbert Arenas’ jersey on an inbounds play and Washington was
awarded a free throw and the ball. Caron Butler made the foul shot
to cut the lead to one point with 16 seconds left, but Evans
quickly made up for his mistake, stealing the ball from Arenas on a
“I was pretty mad they called the foul, so I wanted the ball
back,” Evans said. “I was sitting on the crossover and I was able
to get a hand on it.”
Evans was fouled by Arenas and hit two free throws with 3.4
seconds left to give Sacramento a 112-109 lead. Butler missed a
long 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have sent the game into
“That’s something I dreamed, to get the ball in the end,”
Evans said of the free throws. “I got the ball in my hands and
made the free throws.”
Arenas scored 13 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and
Antawn Jamison had 30 points and eight rebounds for Washington,
which has lost six straight games by a combined 14 points.
“I’m a big guard in this league, but going up against him I
felt little tonight,” Arenas said. “It was a great pick up for
So was Kings rookie Omri Casspi, like Evans another first-round
pick who had a season-high 22 points in his first NBA start. Andres
Nocioni scored 20 points and Jason Thompson had 17 points and 13
rebounds for the Kings, who had dropped eight straight games to
Washington dating to Feb. 27, 2005.
The first Israel-born player to play in the NBA, Casspi made two
3-pointers and had five rebounds, three assists and a block.
“Coach told me early in the practice facility that I would be
starting. I was very excited, you dream about something like
this,” Casspi said. “I felt strong, I felt ready, and things went
Consecutive baskets by Arenas and a steal and dunk by Butler
rallied the Wizards within 109-108 with 18 seconds left. Fouled
after the inbounds play, Beno Udrih made one of two free throws for
a two-point lead with two seconds later.
“We had a chance, we had the ball in Gil’s hands at the end,”
said frustrated Wizards coach Flip Saunders. “We were down one and
Evans made a great play and poked it away.”
The dollar beer promotion helped give the Kings their
third-largest crowd of the season. Beer lines were long more than
an hour before game time and probably played a factor in the crowd
easily being the most boisterous to start a game this season.
Although the crowd noise continued in the second half, beer
sales did not. No alcohol was sold after halftime.
Nocioni scored 10 points and Casspi had nine in the third
quarter, when the Kings built a 89-80 entering the fourth. Despite
being fouled on the play, Nocioni hit a 3-pointer and added a free
throw for a rare four-point play that broke a 76-all tie and
ignited a 13-4 run to end the period for the Kings, who never
A basket and two free throws by Arenas cut the Kings’ lead to
95-88 with 7:09 remaining. But the Kings responded with Casspi’s
two free throws and Nocioni’s 3-pointer to increase their lead to
Thompson hit several perimeter shots and scored 14 points in the
opening half, when the Kings shot 57 percent and led 59-54. Jamison
had 16 of his 20 points in the first quarter and Arenas had 15.
NOTES: The Kings last appeared in a nationally televised game on
Nov. 9, 2007, in a 93-91 loss at Cleveland. … Following a poor
game Tuesday night in Portland, Kings starting center Spencer Hawes
was benched and didn’t enter the game until 3:49 remaining in the
third quarter. He had two points and two rebounds in eight minutes.
… The Wizards have two games remaining on their four-game road
trip. They are 3-9 on the road this season.