NEW ORLEANS — The focus for much of March when the topic of the Pelicans is brought up has focused on Anthony Davis.
He has, after all, averaged 32.3 points and 13.5 rebounds over his past eight games, a stretch in which New Orleans has gone 6-2.
But look a little beyond Davis and you’ll find another player having a hot stretch.
Tyreke Evans, inserted into the starting lineup on Feb. 28, hasn’t let up since.
He’s averaging 20.8 points and 5.9 assists in his past 11 games, 7.2 points and 1.2 assists more than his season average.
His explanation is simple.
“Just been in a good flow,” Evans said Monday morning after shoot around. “Playing pretty good basketball and want to keep it up tonight.”
The Pelicans host Brooklyn tonight at 7, their eighth home game in the past nine playing dates. New Orleans (29-40) has gone 6-2 in that stretch.
That’s largely because of the combination of Davis and Evans. Together, they’re addition over their season averages is making up for the losses of several players, including point guard Jrue Holiday.
They’re putting up a combined 17.8 points, 4 rebounds and 1.2 assists more than normal. Holiday’s season averages – 14.3 points, 7.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds.
“We just communicate on the floor,” Evans said of his play and Davis’. “We have a good relationship with each other. We just pushing each other to be the best we can be on the court.”
Not that they expect tonight’s game against the Nets (37-31) to go the same way automatically. Brooklyn has made a late-season push into the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff pack. It has won 11 of its past 13 games and sits in fifth place in the East, a game back of Chicago for the No. 4 spot and 1.5 games behind Toronto for the Atlantic Division lead.
Brooklyn’s win streak can, in part, be tied to the Nets’ getting former New Orleans guard Marcus Thornton in a trade with Sacramento. Thornton is averaging 12. 8 points, about three more than his season average, over the past 10 games.
Evans, who played with Thornton in Sacramento, expects his former teammate to come in with a purpose tonight.
“He’s a good basketball player,” Evans said. “He’s going to come in and look to be aggressive. He’s playing at home and wants to play good at home in front of his mom and his friends. It’s going to be a key matchup him coming off the bench.”
Still, Brooklyn will have to be just as wary of Evans’ improved play.
He’s playing with more confidence in a starting role.
“Just think it’s me getting off to a good start, just pushing the ball and getting an easy bucket in transition, getting it started knowing that it feeds off everybody else when we get going like that,” Evans said.