Reggie Rebounds, On to the Next One
Reggie Evans just boards. A blue-collar player for a blue-collar town, the kind of player who says scoring doesn't matter to him and means it.
Against the 76ers on Tuesday, Evans again focused his energies on rebounding every errant shot, and pulled down a career-best 23 boards in just 27 minutes, sitting out the fourth quarter with the game out of hand.
"We weren’t sure whether to go small with Gerald (Wallace), who -- when we beat these guys the 23d -- that was the guy that was on (Thaddeus Young) most of the game; or go big with Reggie," said coach P.J. Carlesimo. "Reggie made it work."
Evans acknowledges he can't jump as high as other players or grow to close the height differential, which means it's all about hustle for him: nothing easy, but excuses off the table. He is outhustling every one of his compatriots this season: according to NBA.com/Stats, Evans leads the NBA with 19.8 rebounds per 48 minutes, a per-game average of 8.7 that ranked 19th overall before Wednesday's games. The Nets pull down 6.2% more rebounds with Evans on the court than off.
Teammate Gerald Wallace said that Evans' exhaustive efforts opened up the offense against Philadelphia, since his singular success on the defensive glass allowed everyone else to turn upcourt once an opposing shot went aloft. In most situations, with teams only sending two guards back, that creates 4-on-2 advantages every time Evans out-boards the oppoonent.
"When he's going, he's going," Wallace said. "Either he's going to get the rebound or he's going to knock you out trying to get the rebound, so when he's getting the rebounds, you just let him go."
Rare as 20-plus performances can be on the boards, Evans said he's already "on to the next one." The opponent is different, the strategy and tactics shift, and he knows he'll be a bigger focus in the scouting report.
But Evans' teammates noticed just as much as the opponents did, and they've seen enough to know Evans will be up for the challenge.
"It just gives you confidence to go out there and try to do it again," Johnson said. "Reggie's very capable of doing that. As hard as he works, man, it doesn't surprise me that he went out and got, what -- 23 rebounds? I'm sure he'll come out tomorrow and try to get 25. He's just that type of guy, with that type of mentality."