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News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

February 20, 2012
Tyreke Evans faces biggest defensive challenge of season

MIAMI - Concerns about Tyreke Evans playing small forward had a lot to do with his ability to defend the elite small forwards in the NBA.

Tuesday's assignment doesn't get much tougher - LeBron James.

James is playing like he will win his third MVP award in three seasons, averaging 27.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists while shooting 54.8 percent.

And at 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, James is one of the fastest players in the NBA, making him tough to handle in the open court.

"Just step up the challenge," Evans said of defending James. "It ain't going to be easy. He's a one, two and three. So just go out there and try to make him shoot a lot of jump shots. Because when they're attacking, he and Dwyane Wade, they're unstoppable

Kings coach Keith Smart said he's been pleased with Evans' defense overall and that when reviewing film recently, Evans graded out better than he expected.

Evans, however, does have work to do, particularly with his off the ball defense and chasing players without the ball.
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"Yeah I play defense, especially one-on-one, that's my strength," Evans said. "But sometimes in the pick-and-roll I get caught up."

If that happens Tuesday it will be a lot worse than worrying about Kyrie Irving with the ball.

James will just go through reach-in fouls and finish with a dunk.



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