During a season in which the 76ers have been maddeningly inconsistent, Thaddeus Young has provided some needed stability.
Young scored 18 points, the 17th consecutive game he has been in double figures, providing a spark inside and outside as the Sixers defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 99-80, on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The win snapped a season-high five-game losing streak for the Sixers (13-14), who shot 51.2 percent from the floor. They now embark on their usual extended holiday road trip, this one for eight games beginning Sunday in Brooklyn.
The Sixers won't return home until Jan. 8, when they face the same Brooklyn Nets.
In addition to scoring, Young provided 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. He also added four assists and five steals and committed just one turnover in 40 minutes.
"Thad has been arguably our best player all season long," Sixers coach Doug Collins said.
Young helps the team in many areas, but the biggest is in the energy department.
"I wanted to come out with a lot of energy and impose my will on the game, and try to be a game changer," Young said.
Consider it done.
At 6-foot-8 and 231 pounds, he usually gives up sufficient size and weight battling power forwards.
"We knew they would try to take us inside," Young said.
Instead, it was the Sixers who were better inside, outrebounding Atlanta, 45-37.
This season, Young has flourished in his role as a starter, and it helped to have some healthy running mates on Friday.
Point guard Jrue Holiday, who missed the previous four games with a left foot sprain, returned and contributed 11 points and seven assists.
"When you don't have a point guard, it's hard to get easy baskets," Collins said, explaining the importance of Holiday. "We had 20 fastbreak points."
More importantly, Holiday said his foot passed the physical test.
"It's sore now because I haven't worked it that hard in a long time, but I'm good," he said.
Evan Turner, who left Wednesday's loss in Houston with a mildly sprained left ankle, was also back and contributed game-high 21 points.
Despite their offensive performances, Turner felt he and Holiday made an impact on the other end of the court.
"You tell how good our defense is because Jrue is good on the point guard, and I am good on a good perimeter player, and our defensive intensity picks up," Turner said.
To add to Turner's point, in the four games without Holiday the Sixers allowed an average of 109.5 points.
The Sixers led by 72-64 after three quarters but, with Turner scoring 12 fourth-quarter points, pulled away from a Hawks team that has overachieved and is now 15-9.