Tyreke Evans was a surprise scratch from last night’s 97-92 loss to the Indiana Pacers. The Kings guard suffered a bruised left knee in Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and sat out Friday’s contest at Sleep Train Arena.
“Hopefully he’ll be able to play tomorrow,” said Kings coach Keith Smart of Evans’ status during his post game press conference yesterday evening. ”I knew pretty early that he wasn’t going to play.”
The injury didn’t keep Evans from practicing on Wednesday. The 23-year-old swingman appeared to be in fine health and was seen working on his shot after the mid-week practice,
In Evans’ place, Marcus Thornton got the nod at shooting guard against the Pacers last night. He found out he was starting yesterday’s game during morning practice.
“I practiced with the first group,” Thornton told reporters after last night’s game. “So that’s when I found out.”
Following yesterday’s defeat, the 25-year-old shooting guard told media he wasn’t sure if he’d start again this evening against the Los Angeles Clippers. Thornton is leaving it up to his head coach to decide how he’s utilized tonight.
“We’ll deal with it accordingly,” said Thornton. “If Tyreke’s feeling good, obviously, he’ll be playing. However coach uses me, I’m all for it.”
The Kings clearly missed Evans’ presence on both ends of the floor last night, especially on offense. In his previous five games, the former Rookie of the Year had been averaging 21 points, 4.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds per contest. He was also shooting a stellar 54.8 percent from the field.
“(It’s) unfortunate,” Smart said of losing his starting two-guard. “You miss what he does, especially when he had been playing so well. So that kind of took a little air out of your sail there. Now you have to rearrange people again.”
Despite Evans’ absence, the Kings coach acknowledged that yesterday’s contest was a winnable game. The Kings trailed the Pacers by no more than six points in the final three minutes. Instead, Sacramento ended up losing their sixth home game of the season.
“When you miss a good player,” Smart said. “It hurts your basketball team.”