NEW ORLEANS — Monday night could have been about Anthony Davis once again.
He did, after all, finish with 24 points 14 rebounds and three big blocked shots.
But even the budding superstar knows when to cede the spotlight.
Less than an hour after his Pelicans overcame a 22-point third-quarter deficit to beat Brooklyn 109-104 in overtime, Davis didn’t wait for reporters to ask him questions.
He knew what his answer would be right away.
“Every question (the answer) is Tyreke Evans,” said Davis, the second-year All-Star forward.
No question about it.
Evans finished with a season-high 33 points, added 10 rebounds, dished out seven assists and even came up with three steals in a career-making performance the previous 10 games had been building to.
Since being thrust into the starting lineup against Phoenix on Feb. 28, Evans is averaging 22.4 points, 5.8 assists and 5.6 rebounds.
“Tyreke has the ability to play at a high level every single night,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “That’s my biggest thing with him, is every possession counts. I’m going to continue to demand that from him because I think he has abilities that not a lot of people have.”
The abilities were evident in the third quarter when the Pelicans (30-40) needed him the most. Down 22 and with no apparent answer for Brooklyn’s ability to get to the free-throw line – the Nets finished with 32 attempts and had taken 19 by halftime – Evans got going.
First, though Brian Roberts began the comeback with a long 3-pointer.
Evans followed with eight straight points and, moments later, the Pelicans had reeled off a 15-1 run.
“I was in attack mode,” Evans said. “They were talking trash and weren’t about to back down to nobody. We were on our home court.”
Still, the Nets (37-32) appeared to have weathered that storm, building back to a 74-61 advantage on Joe Johnson’s 3-pointer.
And then the game-changed thanks to a mid-court punch thrown by Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce at New Orleans center Alexis Ajinca.
“It kind of took Paul out of the game; he started getting frustrated, whatever you want to call it. They were missing shots and we started making shots,” Ajinca said. “That kind of gave us the spark we needed.”
The Pelicans finished the quarter on a 12-2 run and were firmly back in the game thanks as much to defense as Evans. Brooklyn shot just 30.6 percent in the second half and overtime.
“For me, I’m not about talking trash, I’m about being effective,” Williams said. “I just always tell our guys to play it out, hang in there. You never know what’s going to happen. We didn’t know this was going to happen. We just play until the end.”
That includes Evans, who finished with 22 of his 33 in the second half. He put the team on his shoulders and kept New Orleans around when it appeared all hope was lost.
“Whenever he (wants) to get to the basket, he can and made some big shots for us,” Davis said. “That 3 when he got fouled and made it was huge. Some great steals reading the defense. He played great tonight.”