Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/6/12
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By Martin McNeal, The Sports Xchange SACRAMENTO -- Desperation was the companion of the Sacramento Kings and the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. Both teams badly needed a victory and saw a vulnerable opponent. In the end, though, Kings guard Tyreke Evans made back-to-back three-pointers in the fourth quarter and also slowed Toronto's Kyle Lowry to lead Sacramento to a 107-100 victory before an announced crowd of 12,476 at Sleep Train Arena. Evans had missed the two previous games with a bruised left knee and admitted to beginning the game sluggishly. "I felt a little rusty," he said, "after not playing for a few days. "But I started feeling better as the game went on. I always have to be aggressive. It's up to me and DeMarcus (Cousins) to lead this team." Evans was one of five starters to reach double-figures, scoring 23 points. Cousins scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while power forward Jason Thompson had 13 points and 10 rebounds. "The one thing we cannot be is scared and I'm never going to be that," Evans said. "I can't be scared. I'm from Chester (Pa.). We have to have that heart to do it. When my feet are set, I'm going to feel good about my shot." Evans made his consecutive threes during a 13-second span to turn a 95-95 tie into a 101-95 Kings lead with 2:13 to play. Evans scored 16 points in the second half. "They were leaving me open," he said of the Raptors. "They were talking over there on the bench. I kept telling them, 'I would keep shooting.' And I just made the shots." Toronto coach Dwane Casey said the team's defensive plan was to sacrifice Evans long-range shooting. "Everybody is going to look at Tyreke Evans," Casey said. "He hit those two threes and he'd hit six all season. We did the right thing to protect the paint, but they still had 56 points in the paint. They had their way with us in the paint and it was the ball game." Kings coach Keith Smart was happy that Cousins got untracked as well. "Our big guys ran the floor and DeMarcus was right there," the coach said. "When he runs and rebounds, it gets his whole game going." Lowry scored a season-high 34 points as the Raptors (4-15) made a bid for their second road victory of the season. Lowry had 11 assists in a do-everything performance. Sacramento forward-center Chuck Hayes said Lowry, with whom he played in Houston, is one of his favorite guards. "He's one of the hardest-playing teammates I've ever had," Hayes said. "I love that guy." Until Sacramento coach Keith Smart decided to move Evans over to guard Lowry, the stocky Toronto point guard went where he wanted and when he wanted. But Evans used his size (6-foot-6) and length to help the Kings (5-12). Toronto's Andres Bargnani made 3 of 14 from the field, including 0-for-6 from behind the three-point line. He finished with eight points. The Kings jumped out to their largest lead of the game at 73-60 midway through the third quarter. John Salmons made back-to-back 3-pointers and the Kings looked as if they were in control. However, no one notified Lowry, who was acquired during the off-season from the Houston Rockets. Lowry took over the game, both from the perimeter and with his penetration. He scored 15 points in the third and proved to be a match up for which the Kings had no answer until he was matched up with Evans. Meanwhile, the Kings watched five turnovers in the quarter turn into eight points and fuel the Raptors comeback. NOTES: Lowry leads the team in rebounds per game at 5.8. Lowry is listed at 6-feet. Lowry and Miami's LeBron James are the only two players in the NBA who average 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. ... The Kings entered Wednesday's contest having averaged 87.3 points in their previous three games after averaging 107.7 points in the three preceding games. ... Smart is trying to help his team deal with its 5-12 start. "It's hard on the team. It's hard on everyone," he said. "It comes down to us having to make that one game-winning shot. But you have to clean up all the incidents prior to that to give yourself more of a cushion."
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