Latest posts by Don McCormack (see all)
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It’s nothing personal, but then again, perhaps it is.
Tyreke Evans was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft with the fourth overall selection.
He spent the first four years in the league as a King, then returned to Sacramento for the final 14 games of last season.
Evans, 28, saw his original team again Sunday night and relished doing so, especially in Sacramento, doing so as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, who signed him as a free agent last summer.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound swingman fired in 26 points and added seven rebounds and five assists in leading the Grizzlies to a 114-96 road triumph, only the fifth time Memphis has won away from home this season.
Evans admitted, it was not a typical, run-of-the-mill game for him.
“I love playing against the team that drafted me,” he told reporters after the game. “Most of the time, when I (come) back, I’ve played well.
“It just gets me going.”
Evans made 10 of 16 shots from the floor, including five 3-pointers, in the victory for the Grizzlies (12-25).
The NBA’s 2010 Rookie of the Year has missed 99 games the past two seasons after undergoing multiple knee surgeries. However, this season, he looks much more like the guy who came out of the University of Memphis, scoring 20 or more points 19 times and shooting at a career-best .426 clip from beyond the 3-point line.
Led by Evans, the Grizzlies dominated the Kings, who stunned visiting Cleveland on Wednesday night. Memphis led by as much as 33 points, while the Kings al but dented the iron from the free-throw line, missing 11 of 24 attempts.
Memphis center Marc Gasol said Evans has had the Eye of the Tiger, err, the Eye of the Grizzly, all season long.
“He’s had that edge all year,” Gasol said. “He’s had that same mentality, so don’t take it like he came in here and did something he hasn’t done every game.
“He’s come with that aggressiveness.”
Jarell Martin was the only other Memphis player to reach double figures, scoring 11 points, though all 13 Grizzlies scored in the game.
Willie Cauley-Stein led the Kings (12-24) with 21 points and eight rebounds, while Buddy Hield and Garrett Temple added 15 and 13 points, respectively.