Nick Young delivers as Sixers beat Wizards

Posted: January 31, 2013

ON MOST NIGHTS, the line between winning and losing in the NBA is so razor-thin it could be used to shave off Spencer Hawes' gangly beard with three strokes.

So it was in the third quarter Wednesday night. The Sixers were holding a slight lead and Jrue Holiday had what seemed to be a clear path for a fastbreak layup when Washington's Garrett Temple hustled down the court for a terrific blocked shot. The Wizards immediately hit a three-pointer and what would have been a 10-point Sixers lead was only five.

Timeout, Sixers.

"I just said, 'Let's just keep playing,' " Sixers coach Doug Collins said afterward. "We just have to finish. We're leaving too many points on the board."

Nick Young hit his biggest three-pointer of the night and a pair of field goals from Holiday helped the Sixers regain control and go on to a grinding, 92-84 win over the Wizards.

Finishing has been a problem for the Sixers lately. The other night, they jumped out early on the Grizzlies only to lose late.

The Wizards dragged a deceptive 11-32 mark into the Wells Fargo Center, most of which was accrued while John Wall missed the first 33 games with a knee injury.

In an intriguing matchup of star guards, Holiday outdueled Wall with a game-high 21 points (and a game-high six turnovers) and made more key plays down the stretch.

Remember that red stripe the TV networks once used to try to help fans track a speeding hockey puck? The same trickery is almost needed when Wall has the ball in the open court.

Holiday called him a one-man fastbreak.

Wall shot just 3-for-12, had nine points and committed five turnovers in 32 minutes. He did snuff a Hawes attempt at a two-handed dunk, but at times, most noticeably in the first half, he took possessions off as his conditioning probably still isn't NBA caliber.

"I think they did a great job in getting in passing lanes and did a good job of getting their hands on [the ball]," Wall said.

On the day regular two-guard Jason Richardson went to Colorado to have further examination of his injured left knee, Nick Young again proved he is worthy of the starting nod.

Young scored 18 points, including 3-for-6 on three-pointers, which helped spread out the court. Collins benched him 2 weeks ago against Houston and it sent a message Young seems to have received.

"It hurt just sitting on the sideline," said Young, who spent his first five NBA seasons with the Wizards before being dealt to the Clippers last March. "I don't want to go back to that. The opportunity is here. I'm just going to keep going day by day, practice, game time. I just want to be ready."

Collins seems to view Young as part two-guard, part reclamation project.

"When we got him, I said my . . . goal as a coach was to make him a polished player," Collins said. "Not [his nickname] Swaggy-P - just the act - but a player. He's guarding now. He had four assists. He's defending. He's earned the trust of his teammates."

When Young signed with the Sixers as a free agent in July, Collins thought he had something to work with. Now it's just a matter of Young showing consistency. Wednesday was his third consecutive start.

"I'm starting to buy into what he's talking about," Young said, "and what the coaching staff is talking about."

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