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Evans carries Kings to second-half rally over Jazz

The SportsXchange

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings overcame the third-quarter ejection of center DeMarcus Cousins to defeat the Utah Jazz, 108-97, Saturday night before 12,239 at Sleep Train Arena.

The Kings (4-9) were led by Tyreke Evans' 27 points, while Jason Thompson scored 16 and grabbed nine rebounds. Evans also handed out five assists and grabbed five rebounds.

The Jazz (7-7) were led by Randy Foye's 17 points. Foye, however, scored just four points in the final three quarters.

Cousins was ejected by referee Gary Zielinski with 1:35 remaining in the third quarter. Cousins was whistled for a personal foul while defending Enes Kanter. Cousins argued the call and received the first technical. Shortly thereafter, Cousins could not leave Zielinski alone and quickly received his second and disqualifying technical.

Cousins finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Cousins is tied with New York's Carmelo Anthony for the league lead with five turnovers.

Kings coach Keith Smart said he will continue to exercise with Cousins.

"I was over there on the bench with my suit and tie," Smart said. "We're not just sitting there whistling Dixie and watching him blow up. We are communicating and talking with him, doing everything we can.

"Some guys just have it like that and sometimes it that and it takes a while (then) the person grows out of the situation. You can't say that a man is only 22 years old (and) he doesn't have any hope. I'll just keep doing the same thing, coaching him through every situation."

The Kings improved their overall level of play in the second half. They committed just two turnovers while forcing 10 by Utah.

"When you turn over the ball against a team like this," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, "they get out in transition and make you pay for it so quickly."

The Kings and Jazz were playing their second game in as many nights. Utah won Friday night, 104-102, in Salt Lake City on a late jump shot by swingman Gordon Hayward.

Sacramento had controlled virtually the entire contest, but fell apart down the stretch. Evans and rookie Thomas Robinson stepped up in the fourth Saturday night following Cousins' ejection.

The Kings led by four when Cousins got the boot, but the Jazz never could take advantage. For the third consecutive game, the Kings have shot 50 percent or better and also are shooting 47.9 percent from three-point range.

Evans said putting in extra work is helping.

"We've been aggressive," he said, "just trying to attack. If I miss one shot, I'm just trusting my shot. I've been coming here after the games and before just to get extra shots up and it's working for me."

At halftime it was difficult to remember the Kings scored the game's first eight points and prompted Utah coach Tyrone Corbin to call a quick time out.

The Jazz grabbed a 29-23 lead at the end of the first quarter. Jazz guard Foye has always shot well at Sacramento and scored 13 points in the first quarter. Foye made four of five three-point attempts and almost single-handedly helped the Jazz make their mark on the game. He scored 15 in the first half to lead all scorers.

The Jazz were able to use their depth and athleticism to get to the hoop and apply pressure to the Kings defense.

The Jazz were strong around the basket in the first half and worked for 19 first-half free-throw attempts. Utah made 16, while the Kings often fired away impatiently from the outside and made just seven of 11 from the line in the first half.

The Kings trailed, 56-51, at the half, despite holding Utah to 17 of 42 from the field.

Sacramento hurt itself by committing 12 turnovers in the first half. Utah used those turnovers to spring to 17 points.

The Jazz had nine steals in the first half and used them to spark a poor shooting offense.

NOTES: Utah's Al Jefferson complained in the first half of injuring his right hip. He returned to the game in the second quarter. However, in the third quarter, he appeared to aggravate the injury and left the contest. ... The Jazz entered Saturday night's contest leading the NBA in blocked shots. ... The Kings are ranked second in the league in points scored in the paint.
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