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Turner Answers Critics, Scorches Celtics

Posted By Mike Rapine On Mar 7 2012 @ 10:02 pm In Philadelphia 76ers | No Comments

Normally, the Boston Celtics coming to Philadelphia is a big enough reason for the Wells Fargo Center to have a playoff atmosphere to it. Turns out this year’s first meeting between the teams also had first place of the Atlantic Division riding on it.

With the 76ers feeling the pressure of slipping behind the Celtics for the first time this season, Evan Turner answered the challenge with quite possibly the best all-around game of his career, leading the 76ers to a 103-71 victory.

In just his second start of the season, Turner was determined to drive to the basket from the get-go, building up confidence to slowly start knocking down mid-range to long-range shots. The fans and media have been riding Turner pretty hard [1] in Philadelphia, even brewing up a story about his relationship with coach Doug Collins being broken and a trade becoming necessary. The two deflected the rumors in pregame interviews, and Turner’s play all but showed he could play in Collins’ system, with a career-high 26 points and nine rebounds. The problem with Turner isn’t his ability, but rather his consistency in making shots. One game doesn’t change a legacy, and Turner will need to build on tonight’s performance against the Utah Jazz on Friday. Turner did not register a point in 18 minutes against the Jazz earlier this year, going 0-5 from the floor.

While Turner shined, the other 76ers had no problem dominating the Celtics either. Elton Brand put in 18 points on 8-10 shooting, and rookie big-man Nik Vucevic notched a 14-point, 12 rebound double-double. Andre Iguodala used the large lead to get a well-deserved rest, but not before adding 10 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Lou Williams quietly added 15 points from the bench as well.

The Celtics, suffering the worst loss in the era of the “Big 3”, had their five-game win streak snapped in such a manner that showcased their inability to fight the fatigue of a lockout shortened season. With Wednesday’s loss, the Celtics are now 5-6 in the second leg of back-to-back games, with all five wins at home and all six losses away from the TD Garden. Things won’t be getting any easier for the Celtics as they embark on an eight-game road trip after a home bout against the Trailblazers on Friday. The final game of that two-week road trip just so happens to be a rematch in Philadelphia.

Blowing out your rivals is always a great feeling, but the 76ers know they can’t put too much stock in Wednesday’s victory.

BY THE NUMBERS:
- Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and Kevin Garnett combined for just 15 points. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 16 points.
- Despite missing Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young (sick), the 76ers outrebounded the Celtics 54-35.
- Turner had just 25 points in his past seven games combined. His last double figure game was on 2/4/12 in Atlanta (11 points).

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[1] media have been riding Turner pretty hard: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/03/07/evan-turners-mystery-problem/

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