At a time when basketball stars are getting $2-million salaries, relief pitchers $1 million and utility baseball players as much as $500,000, a bargain in sports is hard to find.
The Denver Nuggets have found one. They have guard Mike Evans, who specializes in miracle finishes, and they are paying him just $65,000 for the season.
Saturday night at Denver, Evans led the Nuggets to their second sensational comeback in a row. A 12-foot jumper by Calvin Natt at the buzzer was the shot that gave the Nuggets a 123-122 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. But it was the clutch play of Evans, a sixth-year guard from Kansas State who was the catalyst for the second night in a row.
Friday night at Dallas, Evans scored a career-high 38 points and sank five three-point shots as the Nuggets overcame a 23-point deficit to beat the Mavericks in overtime.
In this game before a sellout crowd of 17,024, Evans was instrumental in bringing the Nuggets from nine points down in the last three minutes.
The Bucks, who rallied from a 14-point, second-quarter deficit, led, 116-107, before Evans, given a standing ovation when he first entered the game, led the charge.
Evans made five of the points, including a three-point play, in a 10-0 spurt that put Denver in front with 1:15 to play. Then, after Milwaukee regained the lead, Evans took a charge from Terry Cummings to prevent the Bucks from taking a three-point lead.
Knocked to the floor, Evans had to leave the game. He came back with 15 seconds left to hit Alex English with a pass for a layup to give the Nuggets the lead. With six seconds left, Sidney Moncrief tipped in a basket and Milwaukee led, 122-121. The buzzer sounded before Natt's shot swished through, but, over the protest of the Bucks, it was allowed.
Earlier in the season when Evans asked for a raise, Nuggets General Manager Vince Boryla told him he was lucky just to be in the NBA.
It's rather obvious that Nugget fans and players don't agree with Boryla. Evans has played a prominent role in the Nuggets' amazing season. They lead the Midwest Division by four games.
San Antonio 105, Atlanta 92--The Hawks, on Cloud 9 after knocking off the Celtics Friday night at Boston, came back to earth with a thud.
In this game at Atlanta, the Spurs, playing without injured George Gervin, jumped in front early, and the Hawks never made it a contest. In the absence of Gervin, who has an ankle injury, Artis Gilmore and Mike Mitchell took up the slack.
Gilmore had 26 points and 12 rebounds. Mitchell scored 25 points. Mitchell had 15 of his points in the first half to lead the Spurs to a 56-43 margin.
Midway through the third quarter, the Spurs spurted to a 75-50 lead. The Hawks, who lost for the fourth time in five games, cut the lead to eight after three quarters, but never got any closer.
Washington 109, New York 97--All the Bullets need to get out of a slump is to play the Knicks. Despite 35 points by the league's top scorer, Bernard King, at New York, the Bullets beat the Knicks for the fifth time this season.
The Bullets had won only three of their previous 13 games, but with Gus Williams scoring 27 points and Greg Ballard 22, they led almost all the way.
The Bullets had an 81-76 lead after three quarters when Darren Daye sparked a 10-4 spurt that gave them control of the game.
Seattle 106, Indiana 92--Tom Chambers scored eight of his points in a 30-14 third-quarter spree at Indianapolis that enabled the SuperSonics to breeze to victory.
When the rally began the SuperSonics held only a 54-52 lead. Jack Sikma also had eight in the drive that built an 84-66 margin.
The Pacers (19-40) have the worst record in the Eastern Conference.
Phoenix 114, Kansas City 111--Alvan Adams scored 15 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter at Phoenix to enable the Suns to hold off a desperate rally by the Kings.
Mike Woodson led all scorers with 33 and led the Kings' rally from 10 points down with 4:41 left. They came within three points twice.