76ers down the Cavaliers

76ers forward Thaddeus Young draws a foul against Cleveland's Luke Walton. The Sixers took control with a 20-2 run late in the second quarter that extended into the third.
76ers forward Thaddeus Young draws a foul against Cleveland's Luke Walton. The Sixers took control with a 20-2 run late in the second quarter that extended into the third. (   AP)
Posted: March 30, 2013

CLEVELAND - To hear Evan Turner tell it, once a star in the Buckeye state, always a star.

An all-American and player of the year while at Ohio State, Turner reconnected with his glory days here Friday, scoring a team-high 23 points and grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds to lead the 76ers to a 97-87 victory over the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.

It was a great win. Any type of win is a great win," said Turner. "Obviously it was a great team effort. Everybody joined in once again and that's pretty much it."

A team effort, indeed.

Four of the five starters had four assists or more. Spencer Hawes finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and a pair blocks. Thaddeus Young added 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Jrue Holiday finished with 20 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds for the Sixers (29-43).

But it was Turner's performance that stood out.

Cheered at the start and the conclusion of the game, Turner played as well as he has played in quite some time. Friday marked the first time in 14 games that Turner, who has been struggling lately, scored 20 points or more.

"It's cool," said Turner, who posed for pictures and signed autographs with dozens of fans before the game. "The fans always treated me great. It's positive. When I was walking off the court, they were still cheering and stuff.

"It's always great to see Buckeye Nation," added Turner, who has played to mixed reviews in Philadelphia since the Sixers drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick three years ago.

"Once again it was a positive point in my life and those were positive people. Whether we won or we lost they were still the same way. Sometimes as a pro you are judged so harshly. It's a great atmosphere."

The Sixers will try to win three games in a row for just the third time this season when they host Charlotte on Saturday.

The Cavaliers (22-49), losers of seven games in a row, were led by reserve CJ Miles' 19 points. They were playing without leading scorer Kyrie Irving (shoulder) and Philadelphian Dion Waiters (knee).

With just 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Sixers began the night seven games behind the idle Milwaukee Bucks, the eighth and final seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs. While their chances of overtaking the Bucks are minuscule, the Sixers do have a significantly easier schedule remaining.

Trailing for most of the first half, the Sixers, who shot 48.8 percent from the floor, outscored the Cavaliers by 31-15 from late in the second quarter into the third to take a 68-56 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

The Cavs cut the lead to 83-79 with 6 minutes, 53 seconds to play. But Holiday, who scored 12 points in the fourth, scored eight of the Sixers' next 10 points to help restore the lead to 93-81.


Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.

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