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Evans leads Pelicans past Rockets, 105-100

  • Article by: BRETT MARTEL
  • Associated Press
  • April 16, 2014 - 9:50 PM

NEW ORLEANS — Tyreke Evans had 25 points and 10 assists, and the New Orleans Pelicans closed out a difficult season with a crowd pleasing 105-100 victory over the playoff-bound Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

It was the second straight victory for the Pelicans, both starring Evans' relentless hustle and forceful dribble-drives. Evans was nearly held out of the low-stakes games with a bruised right knee, but insisted on playing.

He gave New Orleans the lead for good with a driving layup with 2:35 left, then sealed it with a powerful move in which he wedged his way between Jordan Hamilton and Josh Powell for a running, right-handed hook from the lane.

Austin Rivers added 18 points and Anthony Morrow 15 for the Pelicans, who shot 52.4 percent.

Troy Daniels hit 6 3s and finished with 22 points for Houston, which rested James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin.

While the game had virtually no meaning in the standings, it was competitive as a number of role players sought to make the most of extended playing time.

Neither team led by more than single digits. New Orleans had the largest lead at 90-81, but Houston responded with a late 11-4 run that included 3s by Hamilton and Daniels, then took a brief 100-99 lead when Hamilton stole the ball and converted a fast-break lay-in with 2:51 left.

Regular Houston starters Terrence Jones, who had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Patrick Beverly, who had 14 points, also played as if it mattered. Hamilton hit four 3s on his way to 14 points for the Rockets and Donatas Motiejunas has 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Dwight Howard was among a minority of players who looked like as if he was merely going through the motions. He was 1 of 5 shooting, including a missed 3 after which he allowed a smirk, and grabbed four rebounds while turning the ball over three times. But Howard had more important things to think about with the fourth-seeded Rockets, who won 54 games this season, starting a playoff series against Portland on Sunday.

Notes: After missing the past two games with a left ankle injury, Pelicans guard Brian Roberts played 4 minutes, long enough to make three free throws. That got him to 125 made foul shots this season, qualifying him for the official NBA lead in free throw shooting percentage at 93.9 percent. ... The Rockets entered the game 3-0 against New Orleans this season, including a 111-104 victory in Houston on Saturday night. ... The Pelicans finished 34-48 overall, but were above .500 at home, going 22-19.

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