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Evans leads Pelicans over Jazz 102-95

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 28, 2014 at 11:03 pm •  Published: March 28, 2014
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — By necessity, the Pelicans keep heaping more responsibility in Tyreke Evans' lap — and he keeps coming through.

Evans had 22 points and a career-high 15 assists, and the short-handed Pelicans overcame the loss of Anthony Davis to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games, 102-95 victory over Utah on Friday night.

The performance came with Evans starting at point guard, a role Evans occupied in stints with Sacramento earlier in his career, but not with New Orleans until this week, beginning with an upset victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

"I always seem to make it work. I'm a basketball player," Evans said. "So, just trying to make the best of it, you know, for me and my teammates and the coaching staff and the organization. Just trying to finish the season out strong and win as many games as possible."

Davis left with a left ankle injury less than four minutes in, further depleting New Orleans' already injury-riddled roster.

But the 6-foot-6 Evans simply looked for other teammates when the Jazz's defense collapsed on him, and the offense flowed.

"He's so big, he can see over the other guards and that gives him the ability to find guys," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. "He's always a threat to score at the basket, so that helps."

Anthony Morrow scored 20 points, Al-Farouq Aminu added 13, and Austin Rivers and Darius Miller each had 12. Alexis Ajinca, playing 28 minutes in Davis' absence, had 10 rebounds, nine points and three blocks.

Derrick Favors had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who lost their third straight. Gordon Hayward added 21 points.

"We just have to continue to fight and close those games out," said Trey Burke, who had 12 points. "We definitely had a chance to win this game tonight.

"We aren't going to get discouraged," Burke continued. "We're all good players and we know we are capable. No matter what, we're sticking together."

Before the game, the Jazz ruled out reserve guard Alec Burks with a left ankle sprain.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, scratched guards Eric Gordon (left knee tendinitis) and Brian Roberts (left knee bone bruise).

Davis started grimacing during the opening minutes. With 8:17 left in the first quarter, Ajinca was subbed into the game and Davis headed for the locker room. Williams did not update Davis' condition after the game.

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