Jazz' Maynor, Sixers' Holiday relive NCAA matchup

Posted: November 14, 2009

Eric Maynor and Jrue Holiday had been here before.

Right here, in the Wachovia Center, in the NCAA Tournament.

Virginia Commonwealth vs. UCLA.

"Ended my college career," said Maynor, the Utah Jazz rookie from VCU who made his first start last night, filling in against the 76ers for Deron Williams, who left the team to attend to a personal family matter.

That game ended in a UCLA victory, sending the Bruins against Villanova, which was on its frenetic way to the Final Four.

"I knew we'd see each other again," Maynor said. "I just didn't think it'd be this soon. They say he's been playing pretty good the last few games."

This, of course, would have been a much better story had Holiday played meaningful minutes last night. While Maynor was putting up 13 points, 11 assists and just two turnovers in 35 minutes and 58 seconds, Holiday was on the court for just the last 2:02 of the Sixers' 112-90 loss.

"I thought he played terrific," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of Maynor. "He got us in our offense, ran the plays we run all the time. He's a smart guy, picks up stuff pretty well. He sees what goes on; he's a point guard."

Holiday remembers Virginia Commonwealth-UCLA as "my last college win."

He also remembers Maynor as "a tough player, a guy who has some stuff to him. He's overlooked as to how good a point guard he is."

But to Sloan, Maynor moving into the lineup is simply a step within the natural order of things.

"If you play and haven't had the chance to get a lot of minutes, it's time to get out there and play and see what happens, and hope you can sneak up on a team," Sloan said.

As for what he told Maynor . . .

"Just go play," Sloan said. "He's had an opportunity to play, just not as much as he deserved. He's a young player we like a lot and hopefully, gradually, he can get a lot better. John Stockton sat on the bench for 2 1/2 years [behind Ricky Green]. You see how bad a guy wants to play; you see him in an every-day routine, which gets to be a real job. It all depends on how you approach it."

Still, can't a first start be something of a mindblower?

"All depends on his mind," Sloan said. "I don't know about his. I know about mine."

Which took Sloan back to his rookie year with the then-Washington Bullets in 1965.

"I was behind Kevin Loughery and Don Ohl," he said, smiling. "Loughery had his tonsils out and I started the first seven games of the season."

And . . .

"Fouled out of six of them," he said.

Six shots

Sixers president/general manager Ed Stefanski responded to an ESPN item quoting two anonymous GMs in the NBA saying that Elton Brand had been made available. "Not true," Stefanski said . . . The Jazz, with just nine players available, started Eric Maynor and Wes Matthews as its first all-rookie backcourt since Deron Williams and Andre Owens, Nov. 15, 2005. Maynor and Matthews (16) combined for 29 points on 11-for-25 shooting, 4-for-6 on three-pointers . . . Matthews is the son of Wes Matthews, who appeared in 465 games with six teams, including 14 as a Sixer in 1983-84 . . .

Carlos Boozer led the Jazz with 24 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 11-for-16. "When you have a guy out like D-Will [Williams], everybody has to step up his game, and I thought we did that. That's why I thought we had a great chance to win. We set screens, we shared the ball, we moved the ball," Boozer said. "It was fun to see us so enthusiastic. It might have been us against the world, but we knew it was us. It had to come from us. Ain't nobody going to help us. We had to help ourselves."

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