Hot-shooting Sixers down the Suns

Sixers guard Jrue Holiday finds himself closely guarded by Suns center Channing Frye.
Sixers guard Jrue Holiday finds himself closely guarded by Suns center Channing Frye.
Posted: December 30, 2010

PHOENIX - The 76ers' locker room hasn't been this happy in years.

After Wednesday night's 123-110 run-and-gun win over the Phoenix Suns, there was laughter, jokes, and even a visit from musician John Mayer and actor B.J. Novak of NBC's The Office.

Wednesday's win was about as unexpected as they come - not necessarily the victory itself, but the way the Sixers pulled it off.

They outscored the scoring-happy Suns. Who'd have figured that?

The Sixers, without Andre Iguodala, improved to 13-19. The Suns, led by Steve Nash with 23 points and 15 assists, dropped to 13-17.

"I'm not used to those kind of games," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "At halftime, I told our coaches I felt like I was a car going downhill without brakes. . . . I was so concerned about us being able to play that way for 48 minutes."

The Sixers managed. They shot 54.9 percent from the floor, 85.7 percent from the free-throw line, scored 44 points in the paint and 20 fastbreak points, and wound up with seven players in double-figure scoring.

No player was more surprising, and impressive, than rookie Evan Turner, who scored 23 points and looked ready to go toe-to-toe with anyone on the floor.

"After he hit his first couple of shots, I think he got really confident," said Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday, whose 25 points were a team high. "He was definitely taking it to them, knocking down big jump shots. He had a swagger to him; it's coming back."

The Sixers reached 100 points with 9 minutes, 1 second remaining in the game, but it wasn't until Turner nailed a corner three-pointer with 1:42 left, giving his team a 117-107 lead, that a win seemed certain.

After draining the three, made despite Grant Hill's hand in his face, Turner was smiling as he jogged back to the bench.

"I was definitely happy," Turner said of the moment. "It was a big shot and I was feeling it a little bit."

"He looked like he was happy," said Holiday. "He was excited and he wanted to celebrate. That's what we need him to do. We need him to be happy. When you're happy, you play better. I've been happy all day."

After the game, Collins couldn't say enough good things about Holiday, Turner, and Andres Nocioni, whose 22 points and 12 rebounds came in handy with Iguodala nursing right Achilles tendinitis.

"That was about as complete a win as we've had all season long," Collins said.

A defensive battle, this game was not.

By halftime, the Sixers were ahead, 66-65. The two teams had combined for 53 first-half field goals and 88 by game's end; the Sixers shot 61.4 percent from the floor in the first half, and the Suns shot 59.1 percent.

"Coach came in at halftime and said, 'We're not really the team to run with them like that,' but we stayed with them," Holiday said.


Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.

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