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Tyreke Evans on staying focused during tough times and finding his shot

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When the Sacramento Kings met up with the Atlanta Hawks on Friday at newly crowned Sleep Train Arena (sounds good to have Arena back in the name), a couple of goals must have been in mind.

First, play better than they did the week before and second, hope Tyreke’s jumper was coming into form.

I guess you could say they went one-for-two as they lost to the Hawks 112-96 in a game that had the loyal fans on their feet booing in the closing moments, but on the bright side, Tyreke Evans’ shot is looking better one game at a time.

THE PLAY

Booing at the obvious lack of effort and an insufficient amount of offensive movement at times shows the fans in attendance (only 11,814 on a Friday) still care.

The question they must have been asking was, does the team care?

In short, they do.

After the game, Coach Keith Smart was in the media room earlier than usual and addressed the masses. It should have been a sign of what was to come. Once Smart was finished, the media throng headed towards the locker room as usual but was met by one of the media relations guys and told that the players weren’t done talking amongst themselves just yet.

Great! This team finally isn’t going to wait until the season is halfway over to focus on the issues at hand.

“We’re just tired of losing,” Evans said. “They just came in here and did whatever they wanted and got easy baskets. We just have to be better as a team. We work hard on defense in Colorado and then we come out here at home and lose by 20 or 15 every night. That’s not gonna get it for us. So we have to be better.”

A players only meeting. Frustration was the word on everyone’s mind after the loss.

Veterans like Chuck Hayes are “very frustrated” right now.

Evans said the fans aren’t the only disheartened folks in the building.

“It’s a little frustrating right now, but we just have to keep playing together as a team and try to figure it out,” Evans said. “We can’t keep coming in here at home and losing by 20. That’s not gonna get it! We have to be aggressive for 48 minutes.”

Evans is not the only one feeling the sense of urgency.

“Everybody is frustrated I think,” Evans said. “I don’t think it’s just me, it’s everybody. We know we’re a better team than that. This is my fourth year. A couple of others guys have been on the team for a long time and we are just tired of losing.”

Evans knows this could be a tipping point. It would be a shame to see the hard work they’ve put in during training camp and the teamwork focus that Coach Smart has tried to instill during that time amount to nothing.

“We have to keep focused,” Evans said. “That’s the main part (of it). Once we hang our heads and point fingers, that’s where we go bad. We have to just play. Other teams go out there and play. They don’t argue. They don’t fight with each other. We just have to be like that. Be a family. We say we’re a family, we gotta play as a family.”

Family. It was Coach Smart’s secret ingredient to success.

The time away from everybody and everything in Colorado prior to preseason starting was meant to be a fresh start, a new beginning.

In that time, the players swore to have each other’s backs and play like a team for an entire season and then judge their performance.

And it started with defense.

When Coach Smart was emphasizing defense during the entire training camp, he thought eventually the offense would catch up, so to speak.

So far this season, the offense has been missing in action.

“We are all having problems with it (offense) right now,” Evans continued. “Last year, we scored the ball so easy. Now this year, it’s a struggle for us. It’s still early, but we have to get it better in practice.”

Evans threw the gauntlet down during the closed door session.

“It starts with practice,” Evans finished. “(No more) joking around. We got to be serious every day from here on out. That’s what we talked about really. Just be serious in practice and it starts tomorrow!”

 

Part Two on Sunday as Evans and others discuss his effort in finding the perfect jump shot.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF:

DARREN HALL

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/DarrenHallPhotographynet
SITE: www.darrenhallphotography.net

Al Horford drives past Jason Thompson on his way the rack
Jason Thompson blocks Zaza Pachulia’s shot from the side
DeMarcus Cousins sits on the floor after being knocked to the ground
Cousins and John Salmons try and keep Jeff Teague from getting to the rim
DeMarcus Cousins thinking of a way to get around Pachulia and get the bucket
Cousins tries to steal the ball away from Pachulia
James Johnson gets an open lane to the hoop for an easy score

 

Josh Smith tries to get around James Johnson on his way into the paint

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