Doing Lines: Tyreke Evans Busts Out
If you're not a close follower of the NBA, then just six games or so into the season, we can't necessarily hold it against you if the name Tyreke Evans doesn't ring a bell. Besides being a rookie, Evans plays for the Sacramento Kings, a team that won just 17 games a season ago, and figured to be about as bad this year with stud scorer Kevin Martin sidelined indefinitely with an injury.
But after what Evans did to Deron Williams in leading his undermanned team to a road win in Utah on Saturday, he won't remain anonymous to basketball fans for much longer.
Evans was the game's high scorer, finishing with a career high (obviously) 32 points, on 7-for-15 shooting, with seven assists and three rebounds. He fearlessly attacked the basket all night long, which is the reason for his 19 free throw attempts -- 16 of which the kid made.
This performance from Evans is a bit of a surprise, considering the fact that when the Kings dropped 127 points on Memphis earlier in the week, the rookie scored just three. But that was with Martin in the lineup, who has the ball in his hands quite a bit -- and with a scoring average of over 30 points per game, shoots it a lot, too. With Martin out, Evans had no problem taking over the leadership role, which is pretty impressive for a rookie playing in just his sixth game as a pro.
Deron Williams had a pretty great game himself in the losing effort, pouring in 29 points and dishing out 15 assists. But since Evans was the one who ended up on the winning end of things, you'd think the least that ESPN could do for him would be to actually get his photo into their game recap.
Down in Atlanta, the Hawks rose up and handed the Nuggets their second straight loss. Denver was playing without the injured Kenyon Martin, and Josh Smith made the most of his absence.
Smith was dominant on both ends of the floor, putting up a ridiculous line of 22 points, nine rebounds, seven assists ... and six blocked shots! When you add in the continued strong play of Jamal Crawford off the bench (25, four, and four), and Carmelo Anthony's struggle to get 30 points on 21 shots, it's easy to see how the Hawks ran away with this one.
Other notable numbers from Saturday's action:
Joakim Noah put up 21 points, on 10-of-12 shooting, and grabbed 16 rebounds in the Bulls' win over Charlotte. He's quietly becoming one of the most reliable centers in the game.
Josh Howard made his season debut for an already solid Mavericks team, and he looked good doing it. Howard was in the starting lineup, and in just 24 minutes, he had 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and three steals.
Chris Bosh continued his early-season reminder that he too is one of 2010 free agency's top prizes, by putting up another super-solid line of 26 and 12, on 50 percent shooting from the field.