Sixers' Holiday endures shaky start

The 76ers' Jrue Holiday , guarding Miami's LeBron James Wednesday night, struggled in his first game at point guard.
The 76ers' Jrue Holiday , guarding Miami's LeBron James Wednesday night, struggled in his first game at point guard.
Posted: October 29, 2010

Jrue Holiday opened the regular season Wednesday as the 76ers' starting point guard, enduring the kind of forgettable night that only statistics can illustrate: six points (2-of-9 shooting) and five turnovers in 21 minutes.

Midway through the first quarter, coach Doug Collins yanked Holiday and replaced him with rookie swingman Evan Turner, who stole the show with a team-high 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

Holiday wound up playing fewer minutes than any Sixers guard in a 97-87 loss to the Miami Heat. To say the least, it was a disappointing start for the second-year player.

"Personally, I think I didn't play too well," Holiday said after Thursday's practice. "I forced too many things. I tried to make too many things happen."

His team-leading five turnovers were a testament to that. As the Sixers' starting point guard, Holiday is responsible for getting the offense going. As such, mistakes are bound to happen for the 20-year-old, who finds himself in a new role.

"It's the first time as a player he's been asked to [play point guard]," Collins said. "And so, what ends up happening is [he asks himself], 'Should I run the play? How aggressive should I be? Where should the ball go?' Point guards play the toughest position."

Last season, Holiday started 51 games as a rookie. He averaged 8 points and 3.8 assists in 24 minutes per game.

On Wednesday, his first assignment was to guard Miami's Dwyane Wade, who torched the Sixers for a game-high 30 points. It wasn't until the fourth quarter that Holiday began to atone for what was otherwise a bad night for him.

Holiday checked back in with 10 minutes to play. He scored six points (making 2 of 2 three-pointers) and added two assists and two steals. And although it was clear with a minute to play that the Sixers' rally would fall short, Holiday and Turner had fueled a resurgence in the fourth as their team outscored Miami, 33-17.

"Eventually, those guys are going to be a good mix with each other," Collins said of the tandem. "I think as Evan's game continues to grow, that will help Jrue and they'll both be able to play very well together."

As long as he remains patient and continues to find his teammates, Holiday sees progression within sight.

"I just got frustrated last night because I felt like I wasn't helping my team," Holiday said. "I just think I need to relax and really my play game."

Hawes' debut. Center Spencer Hawes, who was slowed in exhibition play with a sprained lower back, started for the Sixers on Wednesday.

Hawes had no points (on 0-for-3 shooting), three rebounds, and one assist in 14 minutes. He sat out the entire fourth quarter.

"Defensively, he's done some good things for us. He's in the right spots," Collins said. "But I don't think he's in great shape. I'm hoping as he gets in better shape that he'll start being more assertive."

Hawes sat out the final five preseason games with the injury.


Contact staff writer Mario Aguirre at 215-854-4550 or maguirre@phillynews.com.

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