Find out how Evans has continued to progress since returning to the starting lineup. Plus, Coach Smart dishes on the team’s matchup with the Suns.
– Although Tyreke Evans says he’s not yet fully recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him for 11 contests, the Kings guard has started to rediscover his rhythm and confidence.
“He’s just getting back in the groove, getting his aggressiveness back and knowing when to attack and when not to,” said backcourt teammate Isaiah Thomas. “You need him to be in attack mode and be aggressive, because you’re going to get the most of him when he’s in that mode.”
Over the last five contests – all starts – No. 13 has averaged 15.8 points on 52.8 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc, to go along with 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game. In a win over Washington on Jan. 16, Evans notched 21 points, eight rebounds, a season-high eight assists and three steals.
“I’ve just been taking the medicine, getting treatment and (my knee has felt) good so far – the swelling went down,” he said. “I just have to keep doing that, and hopefully it gets better.”
While Kings Head Coach Keith Smart acknowledges the Memphis product isn’t back to pre-injury form, he praises the fourth-year guard for continuing to put in extra work at the practice facility.
“He’s playing well the last couple of games … (I’m) trying to get him back to a level where he’s consistent every single night,” said Smart.
“He sat out a little bit today because he worked hard the other night, (and we’re) still managing the right amount of floor time for him. He did his work in the weight room (and) he’ll come back tonight and get some shots up.”
– Smart and his squad plan to make the most of a two-game home stand, which begins Wednesday against the Suns, prior to a six-contest road trip. The Kings have won eight of the last 12 games at Sleep Train Arena, averaging 105.6 points and shooting 39.3 percent from downtown during the stretch.
“It’s important to take care of our home court advantage,” said Evans. “Phoenix is a good team – they run the floor (and have) shooters, so we have to just play hard, run them off the line and try to beat them in the paint.”
Thomas likewise believes the Kings need to build momentum with a pair of successful outings.
“We need these,” said No. 22. “Hopefully, we can bring the energy and bring the effort and win these two games at home because they’re very important.”
Smart says the team will focus on controlling the tempo in its first contest against newly-named Suns Head Coach Lindsey Hunter.
“We want to make sure we continue to do what we do,” said the Kings coach. “(We’ll) try to get out to a very fast start here at home.”
Catch Thomas and the Kings take on Goran Dragic and the Suns Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Sleep Train Arena. To get tix, Click Here.