Evans recorded the first 20-20 game of his career, tying a career high with 22 points and grabbing a career-high 26 rebounds (12 offensive) in his team’s 111-93 victory over the Trail Blazers on Wednesday night. It was his NBA-best seventh 20-plus rebound game of the season.
“I just wanted to be aggressive and get the team going,” Evans told YES Network after the game. “As a leader, that’s what you want to do.”
Evans, who put up the monster numbers in 35 minutes, came in averaging 3.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. On Wednesday night, he had nine points and 10 rebounds in the first quarter, a quarter in which the Nets outscored the Blazers 37-17.
“I just was just taking whatever the defense gave me but not trying to overdo it,” said Evans, who went 9-for-13 from the field and 4-for-9 from the free throw line.
Evans is the only player in the NBA this season to record at least 22 points and 26 rebounds in a game. It was the first 20-20 game by a Net since Richard Jefferson’s 26-21 outing on Nov. 5, 2004. Charles Shackleford’s 23-point, 26-rebound performance on Feb. 20, 1990 was the only such outing by a Net since 1985-86.
Three other Nets have grabbed 26 rebounds in regulation: Maurice Lucas (1980), Shackleford (1990) and Jayson Williams (1997). Buck Williams holds the franchise record (27), though it came in a quadruple-overtime game.
“Reggie was absurd,” Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo told reporters in Portland. “You can’t play much better basketball than he played tonight.”
Brooklyn’s first victory in Portland since 2007 (the Nets are 6-32 there all time) guaranteed the franchise its first winning season since 2005-06. The Nets have had 13 winning seasons in their 37-year NBA history. They also tied their franchise record for road wins in a season (20, 2005-06).
Deron Williams shot just 3-for-11 from the field and didn’t make a 3-pointer for the first time in 20 games, while Joe Johnson sat out for a second consecutive game due to a right quadriceps contusion.
Evans, who is dealing with a virus in his eyes, got after it from the opening tip -- and the rest of the team followed. The Nets, who improved to 4-1 on their eight-game circus road trip, led by as many as 30.
“If it were golf I think it would be a problem, but in basketball it’s a pretty big ball, he can see the basketball. That’s all he’s gotta see,” Carlesimo said.
“It helps his shot,” Carlesimo joked. “He’s shooting better. He’s relentless in the way he goes for it.”