Reggie Evans, always aggressive on the boards, is also looking to score nowadays.
If the Brooklyn Nets face the Bulls next weekend in the first round of the playoffs, Evans won't be intimated.
"It don't matter. It don't matter. It don't matter," Evans repeated after scoring 17 points and grabbing 24 rebounds in the Nets' 104-83 blowout victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday at Barclays Center.
"You just gotta go out there and do what you need to do to win. It's all about heart. That's what it's all about. It ain't all about the way you look, how tall you are, how physical you look. Nah. It's all about the heart. I'd rather play a physical game than a pretty game. The more physical, the better it is. I like contact. I don't like running from contact, even though right now I have to get my [left shoulder] right so I can absorb more contact."
Evans has been to the playoffs five times in his 11-year career, appearing in 38 games over that span. He was effective in 11 playoff games with the Los Angeles Clippers last season, averaging 7.3 rebounds in 18 minutes per game.
The Nets can only hope that success translates into the 2013 postseason.
The way Evans is playing right now in the best stretch of basketball in his NBA career, it appears it will.
In the past 12 games, Evans is averaging 9.6 points and 17.8 rebounds on 53.9 percent shooting. He leads the NBA with games of 20 or more rebounds.
"He's cashing in some of those extra possessions that he gets," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "Whereas in the past, he'd finish some and not others. His decision-making now is really good. It's made a huge difference."
On Tuesday night, Evans became the first Net since the play-by-play era began to record a double-double by the end of the first quarter, notching exactly 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"It's great when he comes out like a man possessed," Nets point guard Deron Williams said. "There's been a lot of games where he's got us going and we've just fed off his energy. When he's playing like that -- especially offensively -- we're a tough team to beat."
Williams (11 points) didn't score in the first half, but with Evans and Brook Lopez (29 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) dominating the Sixers on the interior, it didn't matter, as the Nets took an 18-point lead into the locker room. They led by as many as 28.
"I'm not after stats, I'm after wins," Williams said. "When my frontcourt players are playing like that, we're gonna feed them the ball and let them work."
The Nets (45-32, 29-4 against sub-.500 teams) wound up outrebounding the Sixers 67-34 and outscoring them in the paint, 58-30. As a result, their starters did not need to play in the fourth quarter, crucial given that they play in Boston on Wednesday night in the second half of a back-to-back.
"I was definitely happy that we were able to put them away early, because we definitely could use the rest going into the game tomorrow," Williams said.