National Basketball Association
NEW YORK -- The New Orleans Pelicans figured out a way to compensate for missing the 29 points that Anthony Davis averages.
Just get the ball to Tyreke Evans, let him drive through the lane and score.
It took awhile for the Pelicans to figure out how to do it, but eventually they did as Evans scored 14 of his season-high 29 points in the fourth quarter of a 104-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.
Davis was listed as questionable before the game with a left hip injury after the hard foul by New York's Kyle O'Quinn on Monday. He wound up missing his second game of the season because of injury and the Pelicans received little from centers Omer Asik and Donatas Motiejunas, who combined for one point on 0-of-7 shooting from the floor.
Instead, the Pelicans ran plays through Evans, who last scored 29 points on Feb. 1, 2013, at Philadelphia with Sacramento. Evans played in his 12th game since completing his recovery from right knee surgery scored 15 points as the Pelicans faced a 79-73 deficit through three quarters before coming alive in the fourth.
"I think what he's doing is that he's becoming in basketball shape if you want to use those terms, where he has his legs under him and he can get the ball and start going downhill and finish at the basket while finding opening guys," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "We like the progress that he's made and I think he'll just continue to get better.
Pelicans forward Solomon Hill said, "It's good to see him back. It was good to see him get to the line, starting to get some foul calls. That just leads for him to be downhill. He's improving and that's all we want to see."
Hill came alive in the fourth quarter by making 5 of 7 shots from the field. Evans started it with a 19-footer in the opening minute, converted a three-point play with 8:29 left for an 84-84 tie and hit three more layups.
"I'm getting there," Evans said. "It's been 11 months, so I'm not expecting to come out and be my old self. I'm getting better and better every night. My knee is feeling good, so I'm getting my legs back under me and I'll be pretty good."
Even with Evans' most productive game since returning, it was almost not enough. New Orleans did not get the lead for good until Terrance Jones hit a 10-foot bank shot over Brook Lopez with 2:44 left.
Jones' jumper put New Orleans ahead 95-94 and was part of an 11-0 run that spanned nearly three minutes and helped the Pelicans (16-24) win for the sixth time in eight games.
Besides Evans' best game since returning, Jones added 24 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double. Jrue Holiday contributed 21 points and Hill chipped in 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Nets (8-30) lost their season-high eighth straight game and the collapse came after they took a lead into the fourth quarter for the seventh time this season.
"We really struggled to score the ball," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "We had a few turnovers and just didn't make the plays."
Lopez led the Nets with 20 and Sean Kilpatrick added 18. Lopez and Kilpatrick combined for 10 turnovers, with six coming in the fourth quarter when Brooklyn shot 6 of 18 from the floor in the final 12 minutes and committed seven of its 16 turnovers in the quarter.
"We just turn the ball over," Lopez said. "It's kind of the story. That's really it. You got to do a better job taking care of it, myself first and foremost."
NOTES: Nets G Jeremy Lin gave a Chinese language interview and said he hopes to be playing in a week or two and if the decision was in his hands he would have returned from a second strained left hamstring. Coach Kenny Atkinson did not provide an update, only saying Lin is "progressing nicely." ... New Orleans experienced a rarity in its schedule with five nights in New York after arriving from Boston late Saturday night. The quirk prompted coach Alvin Gentry to quip that he might need to "take out a small business" loan to cover to costs of eating out. ... In the latest round of All-Star voting released by the NBA on Thursday, Davis was fourth in the voting among Western Conference voting and Lin was eighth amongst Eastern Conference guards.
Top Game Performances
Tyreke Evans 29
Brook Lopez 20
Jrue Holiday 4
Trevor Booker 4
Terrence Jones 12
Trevor Booker 12
Tyreke Evans 7
||Free Throws Made
Sean Kilpatrick 3
Tyreke Evans 4
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 2
E'Twaun Moore 2
Justin Hamilton 2
Team Stats Summary
Brooklyn will play their next game on the road against Toronto. The Nets have a W/L % of .000 after a win and .267 after a loss.
New Orleans will play their next game on the road against Chicago. The Pelicans have a W/L % of .467 after a win and .360 after a loss.