December 21, 2014

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Evan Turner turns up the intensity as 76ers beat Cavs

PHILADELPHIA — If Evan Turner strives for consistency over perfection, he could end up fulfilling the lofty expectations of a No. 2 overall draft pick.

The former Ohio State star had 19 points, a career-high nine assists and six rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers over the reeling Cleveland Cavaliers 86-79 Sunday night.

“Evan shows flashes,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said after Turner’s best all-around effort in the season’s first 10 games. “I told him, ‘Stop putting so much pressure on yourself.’ Evan is a perfectionist. He works harder in the offseason than anybody else on the team. He puts a high ceiling on himself. I want him to enjoy playing.”

Turner, a third-year pro, has finally settled into a steady role as the team’s starting small forward. He was up-and-down over the first two seasons and started just 34 games.

“I want to play well, obviously,” Turner said. “Other than that, it’s normal.”

More photos below.

Spencer Hawes and Jrue Holiday each added 14 points for the Sixers, who’ve won two straight and five of seven.

Alonzo Gee scored 17 and Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson had 14 apiece for Cleveland, which has lost six in a row. Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters combined for 14 points on 6-for-27 shooting. They came in averaging a combined 39.1 points, a league-best for a starting backcourt.

“Those are shots I normally take,” Waiters said. “They just weren’t falling. I can’t stop shooting because I’m not making shots. You’re going to make some and you’re going to miss, but at the end of the day you have to try and impact the game in other ways.”

The Cavs had won eight of their last 10 games in Philadelphia, a stretch that began when LeBron James was the King of Cleveland.

For nearly three quarters, it seemed the Cavs would continue their successful run. But the Sixers started pulling away late in the third quarter.

Holiday hit a step-back jumper, Nick Young made a free throw and then his fastbreak slam gave the Sixers their biggest lead to that point, 61-55.

Jason Richardson’s 3-pointer 3½ minutes into the fourth increased the lead to 69-59, but the Cavs went on a 14-6 run to pull to 77-75.

Turner answered with a jumper and after Varejao missed a putback, Hawes drilled a jumper to make it 79-73. Hawes’ 3-pointer extended the lead to 82-75 with 2:15 left.

Turner’s turnaround shot put the game away.

“Evan was brilliant,” Collins said. “He was our ace of spades.

Before the game, injured Sixers center Andrew Bynum confirmed he hurt his other knee — the left one — while bowling on Nov. 10. His target date of Dec. 10 for basketball activities appears unlikely.

Young scored 13 points in 16 minutes off the bench. He left in the fourth quarter because of dizziness. Young wore fluorescent orange sneakers that clearly didn’t match Philadelphia’s white, red and blue colors.

Considering his performance, he’ll probably use those again.

Holiday finished one assist short of his fourth double-double in 10 games. His biggest contribution came defensively on Irving, who was averaging 24.4 points per game. Irving finished 4 of 14 for nine points.

“It was important,” Holiday said. “He’s their main scorer, their go-to guy. To limit his points, it’s big.”

The Sixers took a 43-42 lead after a back-and-forth first half.

“We had some good looks on the offensive end, but we got stagnant toward the end,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said. “I think a little bit of that had to do with fatigue. Other than that, from a defensive standpoint which is the thing we’re really looking at, I thought we got better.”

Notes

  • The Sixers played their fourth straight home game and are in the middle of a stretch where they have eight of nine on their floor.
  • They’ve won just three of their last 10 home games, dating to last season.
  • The Sixers are 6-0 when leading entering the fourth quarter.
  • Cavs forward C.J. Miles, the team’s top free-agent signing, played 14 minutes after sitting out three straight on a coach’s decision.

Next up

  • WHO: Cleveland vs. Philadelphia
  • WHEN: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
  • WHERE: The Q
  • TV/RADIO: FS Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM

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