Less than a minute into overtime of the 76ers' 95-94 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday, Jrue Holiday was whistled for his sixth foul. Reduced to a cheerleader, Holiday urged coach Doug Collins to put the ball - and the game's outcome - into Evan Turner's hands.
Turner proceeded to miss three short jumpers and a layup. However, Turner never doubted that the next one was going in, and he was right. Turner knocked down the game-winner - a pull-up jumper from 13 feet with three seconds left in overtime - that decided the outcome.
Then, on Monday, Holiday helped lift the Sixers past a scrappy Detroit team, 104-97, by going 9 for 13 from the field and scoring 21 of his 25 points in the second half, 12 of them in the decisive fourth quarter.
Last season, there were few go-to scoring options for the 76ers. But, as this season passes the quarter turn, the 12-9 Sixers, who host Chicago Wednesday, are growing confident in Turner and Holiday in that role.
"I'm pretty comfortable [scoring clutch baskets], and I think Jrue is pretty comfortable as well," said Turner, who notched his sixth double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists) on Monday. "Coach put a lot of responsibility on us. Jrue and myself have a lot of confidence in each other. At the end of the game you just think, 'Get into the flow of it,' because you don't want to let your teammates down."
Said Holiday: "Evan and myself feel confident that we can do what our team needs us to do when the game is on the line."
Holiday and Turner are good friends in the locker room, too. Of the two, Turner has had to make the bigger concession in his game as the Sixers want Holiday, owner of a new $41 million deal, dominating the ball.
Better with the ball in his hands, Turner has adjusted to letting Holiday dominate the ball. He is, however, getting to play with it a little more lately.
"Coach has trust in me now, and it's helping to take some of the pressure off Jrue a little bit," Turner said.
Meanwhile, Chicago hosted the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday. Going into that game, the Bulls had won five of their last six games. They ranked second in the NBA in points allowed with an average of 91.3 per game.