THE SIXERS have been done in by the Killer Threes of late, surrendering 21 of them to the Nets in Brooklyn on Monday night. And the same number to the Portland Trail Blazers in their previous game.
But last night, the Sixers pulled off an inside job on the Nets, en route to a scintillating 121-120 overtime win, snapping a seven-game losing streak.
The Sixers outscored the Nets, 66-30, in the paint and dominated the boards, outrebounding Brooklyn, 49-36.
And it was fitting that Evan Turner score the game-winner on a drive to the basket that bounced three times on the rim before dropping through as time expired.
"It felt like 150 times," Turner said. "It was up there. I was just thinking about my reaction if it didn't go in [and] who I was going to punch. Thank the Lord it went in."
The winning play came after a Turner drive was blocked out of bounds with 6 seconds left. After a timeout, Turner inbounded the ball to Spencer Hawes (10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists), who gave it back to Turner on a dribble-handoff. Turner drove past Shaun Livingston and tossed in a one-hander over Paul Pierce and Brook Lopez.
It completed a hardworking night for Turner, who needed to come back from a pair of dysmal performances, especially the most recent one on Monday night in Brooklyn. While Joe Johnson was torching the Sixers for 37 points, including 10 threes, Turner was stinking up the Barclays Center, missing eight of his 11 shots for nine points in a listless 25 minutes. But with Johnson sitting this out last night's game because of personal reasons, Turner came ready to atone for Monday's mess.
In the first half alone, in 23 minutes, he hit his first eight shots and finished the half shooting 9-for-11, scoring 18 points.
He ended the night with 29 points, 10 rebounds (all defensive) and five assists.
The Nets, however, were able to stay in the game by hitting threes, 15 in all, and getting to the line, making 21 of their 30 shots. But the Sixers kept clawing back despite shooting only eight free throws in the first 47 minutes, 10 seconds of the game.
This isn't to say that the Sixers were totally inept from the arc. They were only 9-for-29, but some key threes were hit. Thad Young, who isn't about to enter a three-point shooting contest anytime soon, hit all three of his threes, including a trey that gave the Sixers a 119-115 lead in the overtime period. And Turner's three put the Sixers up 113-112 in the extra session.
But in a game as close as this one was, with 31 lead changes, and 21 ties, every three was key.
Young, who earlier in the day denied he had requested a trade, said he'd show up and give it 110 percent. He was true to his word. Despite sitting 14:21 of the first half after picking up his second foul, he finished with 25 points and probably just as many skin burns from chasing down loose balls.
And rookie Michael Carter-Williams' return to the lineup was triumphant. It's no coincidence that the Sixers lost all seven games in which he didn't play while he was sidelined with a skin infection. He finished with 15 points and 10 assists. And Tony Wroten, off the bench, knocked down 19 points.
"It's such an up-and-down world we live in with the Philadelphia 76ers," head coach Brett Brown said.