HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Every contending team could use a Reggie Evans.
Just look at the bald-and-bearded board machine’s work in the month of March: a monstrous 15.5 rpg to go with a respectable 7.3 ppg on 50 percent shooting.
That type of powerful production has earned Evans more minutes, too. He’s averaging 27.7 mpg this month, four more than his season average. All of it is exceedingly positive news for the Brooklyn Nets, who have picked up steam since the All-Star break, are 4-1 on their current eight-game road swing with a stop at Denver tonight, and are closing in on locking down homecourt advantage in the first round.
As much credit, and deservedly so, is heaped upon point guard Deron Williams for his post-All-Star Game transformation, it’s impossible to exclude Evans.
We know that Williams’ rapid turnaround was aided by PRP therapy, a juicing concoction that helped him trim down and cortisone shots into his two ailing ankles.
What’s at the root of Evans’ evolution?
“I got frustrated one day when one of my teammates told my coach to take me out the game. I bit my tongue. I didn’t say nothing to (my teammate),” Evans told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “But me, knowing me, I usually attack and say something. I bit my tongue. I said, ‘OK.’ I said, ‘All right, start being aggressive.’ So I took it in a positive way, instead of just doing my normal self, like ‘What you say? What you say?'”
How mature of Mr. Evans.
On Wednesday, Evans threw down perhaps the game of his life with 22 points and 26 rebounds in a huge win at Portland that ran the Nets’ record to 42-29, and improved their road record to a rather robust 20-15, second-best in the East behind Miami.
“Reggie was absurd,” Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said afterward.
Said Williams: “What [Evans] did was great. He’s the reason we got going, the reason we built such a big lead in that first quarter because he just took the life out of them. He’s playing with a lot of energy and we just fed off of him.”
It was Evans’ fourth 20-rebound game of the month and seventh of the season, more than any other player, according to Bondy. Evans has recorded double-digit rebounds in 12 of the 13 games in March and in eight in a row. In his lone single-digit board game, Evans finished with nine in 23 minutes on March 9 at Atlanta.
At $1.6 million this season, Evans, 32, is a steal. He’s stayed healthy enough to play in 70 games and appears to be getting stronger at the right time.
Having a teammate call for him to be benched seems to have been the trigger point.
“I said, ‘Let me just be a little aggressive and make them play us honestly instead of not playing me and stuff like that,'” Evans told Bondy. “I’m just doing my best to be more aggressive, so if they respect me, cool. If they don’t, cool. I’m not tripping. At the end of the day, they know I’m out there.”