SACRAMENTO — Tyreke Evans says he’s feeling more comfortable, which means that opponents are starting to feel very uncomfortable trying to contain the Sacramento Kings talented guard.
Evans had 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and also hit a free throw late in the game, helping the Kings beat the Washington Wizards, 95-94, on Wednesday night.
With the score tied, Evans was fouled on a drive to the basket with 11.4 seconds left. He made one of two free throws to give the Kings a 95-94 lead.
“I had him beat, and I don’t think he meant to do it, but he (Nene) tripped me,” said Evans, who ran down the shot clock before making his move to the basket.
Evans said the second free throw, a miss that was way off the mark, slipped out of his hands and the Wizards secured the rebound and called timeout.
Bradley Beal missed a runner in the closing seconds and John Wall followed with a desperation shot from inside the foul lane that never hit the rim.
“I was open at first because I set my man up, and we set a great screen on (John) Salmons,” Bradley said. “He was stuck and I was wide open. At the last minute they switched and I had Chuck Hayes on me. He took a bad angle, but he got into my body and I had to take a tougher shot than I wanted.”
Evans had a strong game offensively, but had plenty of help. DeMarcus Cousins had nine of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and also had 16 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Salmons made a big three in the fourth quarter and also scored 21 points.
Jimmer Fredette scored all 12 of his points for the Kings in the second half when they had to overcome an 11-point deficit. Sacramento outscored the Wizards 23-17 in the fourth quarter in improving its home record to 12-10.
“Having three players have 21 points, that’s sharing the ball,” said Cousins, who had six of the Kings’ 18 turnovers. “It was a good team game for us all around.”
A rookie guard, Beal scored 26 points and made six 3-pointers, both career highs. Despite Beal’s effort and a solid game overall offensively, the Wizards had their three-game winning streak snapped. The modest streak included impressive wins over Oklahoma City and Atlanta.
The Wizards have the worst overall record (7-29) in the NBA and are also a league worst 1-16 on the road. But Kings coach Keith Smart still thought his team was in for a tough game.
“I knew how well they were playing and the teams they had beaten,” Smart said. “I knew they were playing like a good basketball team entering this game.”
Kevin Seraphin had 16 points and Nene contributed 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Wall had 14 points, 10 assists and three steals in a season-high 26 minutes.
Wall had a chance to give the Wizards a lead with 30 seconds left. He was fouled after stealing the ball from Cousins. But Wall missed both free throws and the Kings secured the rebound and called timeout with 30 seconds left to set up Evans’ drive.
It was Wall’s third game after missing the season’s first 33 with an injured his left knee. He demonstrated his trademark quickness in the opening half, getting to the basket numerous times when he scored 10 points in only nine minutes.
Washington shot 45 percent, hit 8-of-17 treys, and tied a season-high with 32 assists. Yet they faded in the fourth quarter, shooting 6-of-17 and committing five turnovers.
The Kings were down five points in the fourth before Cousins took over. He made a reverse layup and then on the Kings’ next possession muscled inside for a basket and was fouled. Cousins made the free throw, and the three-point played tied the game at 91 with 1:46 left.
The Wizards led 56-48 at the half and were able to maintain a five-point edge heading into the fourth despite shooting 8-for-21 in the third quarter.
After not playing in the first half, Fredette got the Kings stagnant offense going in the third quarter, making his first shot and adding a pair of treys.
“I thought that we needed a shooter, we got that (from Fredette),” Smart said. “Jimmer had a couple of plays and made some big 3-pointers for us.”
Sacramento players contend they have not let the rumors of the team being bought and moved next year to Seattle bother them. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star, is leading the effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento.