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Birthday boy Maurice Evans returns to Sacramento

The Pistons kick off the first game of their three-game West Coast trip tonight in Sacramento. This is a dangerous game -- the Pistons haven't won in Sacramento since 1996, and you have to figure the 1-2 Kings will bring the intensity in their home opener.

There's a little side story here involving Mo Evans, who the Kings decided against retaining as a free agent this summer:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Maurice Evans probably hasn't checked, but the two guys the Sacramento Kings decided to replace him with -- Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia -- have combined to produce 20 points and six rebounds through three games.

Evans, who signed with the Pistons in August, has 25 points and nine rebounds in three games.

Not only will Evans celebrate his return to ARCO Arena tonight, he also will celebrate his 27th birthday.

"How about that for scheduling?" he said with a smile.

Evans played in 65 games for the Kings last season.

"It's going to be a little bit different," he told the Sacramento Bee of his return. "It doesn't seem like it was long ago when I was running out of that tunnel with the Kings."

The Pistons are 3-0, but the Kings are 1-2 coming into their home opener.

"I watched them play because I have some friends on that team," Evans said. "I saw them struggle, and, from my vantage point, I hope they'll struggle one more game so we can get a win."

Going 3-0 on this trip will be tricky. Playing in anyone's home opener is a little dangerous, and winning both ends of a back-to-back affair on Thursday and Friday against the Suns and Blazers will require the bench to come through.

Tonight's game is only on NBA TV, which blows, since I'm sure there are a lot of people in my shoes that don't have it. Plus, it's a 10 PM game, which means a lot of people won't be able to stay up for the highlights. At least the last two games of the trip are on TNT and ESPN.

Evans returns to his roots [Detroit News]