PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Evan Turner scored a career-best 26 points, helping the Philadelphia 76ers rout the Boston Celtics 103-71 Wednesday night to maintain their lead in the Atlantic Division.
Before tip-off, Turner denied a radio report that a mystery problem was causing his inconsistent play. Then Turner went out and proved he’s just fine. He shot 11 of 19 and grabbed nine rebounds.
Six Sixers scored in double figures, including Elton Brand (18), Lou Williams (15) and Nik Vucevic (14). Vucevic’s 12 rebounds were a high for the rookie. Andre Iguodala had 10 points, eight assists and seven boards.
The Sixers, a surprise contender a month ago, had lost eight of 10 to drop their lead in the division to one game over Boston, which had won five in a row.
But the Celtics were no match for Philadelphia in this one.
Paul Pierce had 16 points and Brandon Bass added 12. Rajon Rondo had just 5 and Ray Allen 2.
Coming off an overtime win at home over Houston on Tuesday night, the Celtics clearly were sluggish in their 11th back-to-back game of the season.
The Sixers, helped by Turner’s 10 points, led 33-17 after one quarter. Turner’s best play, though, was an alley-oop pass to Iguodala, who thrilled the crowd with a thunderous dunk.
Turner hit a jumper to cap a 14-0 run in the second quarter that gave the Sixers their biggest lead to that point, 49-21. Williams started it off with a 3-pointer and Jrue Holiday swished a 3 during the stretch.
Turner slammed one in off a pass from Iguodala in the third. Minutes later, he made a driving layup, got fouled, high-fived a fan and then sank a free throw to complete a 3-point play.
He nailed a 3 to reach 26 points, surpassing his previous high of 23 during his rookie year. So far, Turner hasn’t played like a guy worthy of the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft. He started just 14 games last year and only moved into the starting lineup two nights ago.
Turner entered the game averaging 7.7 points per game. He shot just 1 for 12 in a 97-93 loss at Milwaukee on Monday.
The Sixers haven’t had much success against the better teams in the league. A convincing win over Boston should boost their confidence heading into the next five-game stretch. After playing Utah and New York, they’ll face Indiana, Miami and Chicago.
Notes: Former Sixers president Pat Croce received a rousing ovation when he was introduced at half court before the game. Croce once was an athletic trainer for the Sixers and Flyers who rose to part-owner and drafted Allen Iverson with the No. 1 pick in the 1996 draft. … Celtics are 5-6 in second game of back-to-backs. … Boston C Jermaine O’Neal sat out because of a sprained left wrist. … Sixers F Thaddeus Young didn’t play because he has an upper respiratory tract infection. … Philadelphia has 19 double-digit wins, and its 11 victories by 20-plus points are the most in the NBA. … The Celtics were 0 for 8 from 3-point range.
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