SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Tyreke Evans has been a solid scorer throughout his four-year NBA career. Still, the one thing he's always lacked is a consistent outside shot.
Evans made two consecutive 3-pointers late in the game and teammate DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 13 rebounds to help the Sacramento Kings beat the struggling Toronto Raptors 107-100 on Wednesday night.
The Kings used strong fourth-quarter play from Cousins and Evans to earn a rare victory. Sacramento had dropped nine of its previous 11 games, including an embarrassing 35-point loss Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Evans, back in the starting lineup after missing the past two games with a bruised left knee, scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. The point total wasn't a surprise, but hitting back-to-back 3s was unexpected. Evans entered the season as a 25 percent career shooter from 3-point territory and had made six of 22 attempts this season.
With the game tied at 95, Evans put the Kings on top for good with a 3-pointer, then connected on another one from the same spot 30 seconds later, giving Sacramento 101-95 lead with 1:43 remaining. Both times Evans stared at the Toronto bench defiantly after sinking his shot.
"I'm happy for him, especially on his outside shooting," said Cousins, who scored seven points in the final 5:28. "If Tyreke gets confidence in that shot he's going to be an incredible player."
Kyle Lowry had a huge second half, scoring 29 points. He pulled the Raptors within four on his fourth 3 of the game with 18 seconds left, but the Kings made free throws to secure the victory.
"Tyreke made two huge 3s and pretty much put the game away," Lowry said. "He's just coming off an injury, so I know he's not 100 percent. But those 3s showed how he is a big-time competitor. And Cousins is just a bull. He's very talented and everyone knows that."
It's been a rare occurrence this season when both Cousins and Evans are major offensive contributors.
But that was the case against the Raptors.
"That's very important. I think it starts with us two. DeMarcus in the post and me in the pick-and-rolls getting into the paint," Evans said. "That's one of the things I wanted to do tonight, drive the ball and get fouled."
Evans started slow, missing his first four shots in the first quarter. He had seven points at halftime but began connecting in the third and finished 7 of 16. He struggled a bit from the free throw line, shooting 7 of 12.
"I thought he was pressing in his first game back," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "But he settled down and he didn't force the issue."