Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — As a seldom-used rookie coming off the bench, it's Jeremy Evans' job to bring the Jazz some energy when he gets a chance to play.
Evans did just that, but didn't limit his energy boost to the other four Jazz players he shared the floor with on Monday night. He sent waves of excitement to about 19,000 fans in EnergySolutions Arena on four different occasions.
Evans scored nine points in Utah's 108-95 win over Golden State. That's obviously not a record-setting scoring night, but the baskets he scored were spectacular and meaningful. Eight of his points come on dunks, and three of his dunks were from alley-oop passes.
Each dunk earned Evans a rousing ovation from the home crowd.
"It was a lot of fun," said Evans, who played a little more than nine minutes and had three rebounds. "That's what I try to do — try to bring energy, and try to play my hardest every time I go out. I always seem to have fun."
Evans' first dunk came on a fast break, and he converted an and-one on the play. He then caught an alley-oop pass from Earl Watson on a back-door cut that has emerged as Evans' bread-and-butter play. His third dunk came off an alley-oop pass from C.J. Miles on a fast break, and it gave the Jazz a 36-27 lead.
Evans made those three dunks in a span of 3:08. During that time, Utah turned a one-point lead into the 36-27 advantage.
"I was really happy for him," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. "He did a nice job. He executed what we tried to do. Just throw it up in the air and he can get it."
Evans' fourth dunk of the game came on a second alley-oop pass from Watson with a little more than a minute left in the game. The Warriors didn't catch on after Watson and Evans hooked up for an alley-oop earlier in the game, which was somewhat surprising to the Jazz.
"He did great," said Gordon Hayward, Evans' fellow Jazz rookie. "Every time you see his back-door cut for a lob, I mean, it's the same play, how does he keep getting open? But he jumps pretty high and sells it pretty well. He did great tonight."
Sloan has been impressed with Evans' work ethic and ability to be ready when called upon.
"That's tough for those young guys," Sloan said of players such as Evans and Hayward, who practice just as hard as the rest of the team but don't get to play as much in games. "You get a few minutes and that's what you like to see — put everything you have into it, even though you may play for a short period of time. If things don't go well, you have to fight back. If they go well, don't get your head up too high in the air. Someone will knock it off your shoulder."
That probably shouldn't be a concern with Evans, who is just thankful to be in the NBA after being a second-round pick out of Western Kentucky.
"A lot of people didn't expect me to be in this position," Evans said. "I'm just happy to be here. Whatever minutes they give me, I'm fine with."
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