- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Reggie Evans led the Sacramento Kings in a crucial category Monday night: hustle.

Evans supplied plenty of spirit to go along with DeMarcus Cousins’ 23 points and 12 rebounds in a 96-89 victory over the slumping New Orleans Pelicans.

A veteran forward in his 12th season, Evans had 10 points and 13 rebounds. But his real value was his usual aggressive play on a night when the Kings weren’t too energetic during a lackluster first half. Still, they outrebounded New Orleans 47-30 in halting a three-game losing streak.

“Reggie Evans’ effort was inspiring,” Kings coach Michael Malone said. “I don’t care where he’s playing or who he is playing with, he’s going to bring great effort every minute that he’s on the floor. He makes things happen out there. He plays great defense and he has great activity. My hope is it becomes contagious.”

Evans started the season with the Brooklyn Nets and came to Sacramento following a Feb. 19 trade. His points, rebounds and minutes (30) were all season highs with the struggling Kings, who are tied with the Lakers and Jazz for the worst record (21-39) in the Western Conference.

“I have an attitude of never quitting and always going hard,” said Evans, who made five of seven shots and grabbed five offensive rebounds. “That’s the main thing.”

Tyreke Evans scored 14 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and added 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Pelicans, who have dropped eight straight and 10 of 11. Brian Roberts scored 15 points and Eric Gordon fouled out in the fourth quarter with 10.

“We couldn’t get it back and couldn’t get a rebound tonight,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “Reggie Evans basically controlled the boards out there with his energy. It’s just another tough loss. It’s the same old song. We had the game in our grasp, we were up five or six, then in a 2½-minute stretch we go from being up five or six, and then we’re down by nine.”

New Orleans All-Star forward Anthony Davis shot 4 of 14 and had 13 points. He missed his first 10 shots before making his first basket, a step-back 10-footer over Cousins, at the 9:10 mark in the third quarter.

Davis, who has been bothered by a sore left shoulder, was in foul trouble in Saturday’s 32-point loss to the Clippers. He had one of his least productive games of the season, shooting 1 of 6 and scoring eight points.

“Anthony missed a lot of open shots tonight,” Williams said. “He was 0 for 8 in the first half, and kind of got it back in the second when he was attacking. But if he goes 0 for 8, we do what we did in the third.”

Isaiah Thomas had 18 of his 22 points in the second half and Rudy Gay scored 14 for the Kings, who won despite 19 turnovers, including six by Cousins and five from Thomas.

Behind the scoring of Thomas, the Kings took the lead late in the third quarter and never trailed in the fourth.

After a quiet first half, Thomas got going in the third quarter, scoring 11 points. The Kings closed the period with a 20-6 run and led 68-59.

“I wanted to come out and be aggressive in the third quarter, push the ball and help us get some stops,” Thomas said. “We were able to get some easy baskets in transition.”

It was the second game back in Sacramento for Tyreke Evans, who played his first four seasons with the Kings before being traded last summer. He had 25 points, 12 assists and six rebounds in a Dec. 23 victory.

After the Pelicans cut the lead to five points, the Kings made three free throws and Gay hit a jumper midway through the fourth quarter for an 83-73 lead.

Gordon hit a pair of 3s and Evans had another, putting the Pelicans ahead 52-46 midway through the third.

NOTES: Cousins made all nine free throws and scored 17 first-half points, helping the Kings to a 40-38 lead. … Pelicans starting forward Ryan Anderson, who grew up in the Sacramento region, will likely miss the remainder of the season with a herniated disk. … New Orleans missed all seven of its 3-point attempts in the opening half, while the Kings were 0 for 2.

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