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Evan Turner Leads 76ers Charge Down the Stretch in Tough Loss to Denver

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 24: Evan Turner #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers dunks in front of Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat during the second half of Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 24, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Lake CruiseAnalyst IJanuary 19, 2012

Will Evan Turner get an added boost of confidence after his second-half performance against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night? Time will reveal.

An NBA sophomore, Turner revealed his spectacular player side in the fourth quarter for Philadelphia. He was so good that he earned the nickname “94 Feet” from analyst Malik Rose.

Turner’s game was as sightly to the eyes as a red rose, and as sweet smelling. Taking over the ultimate bench player role from “Sweet Lou” Williams, Turner was Philly’s best bench player tonight.

Evan's electrifying play had the fans at Wells Fargo Center rocking, standing and roaring their approval. Turner was arguably the most energetic player on the floor in the second half of the game.

Following his lead, with the Sixers down by nine in the contest, Philadelphia ratcheted their defense up and took the lead in the fourth quarter.

From then on, it was basically the Turner and Andre Miller show. Playing his best ball of the season, Miller was either knocking in threes or rocking perimeter defenders to sleep with hesitation dribble drives.

The former 76er, Miller, 35, was as fresh and as quick as he has appeared all season. He finished the game with 28 points, a trifecta of three-pointers and 10 assists. He also finished with only three turnovers in the game.

Further, as the fourth quarter was winding down, Miller scored Denver’s last 10 points, including a layup with 34 seconds left to give his squad the lead.

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Andre Miller #24 of the Denver Nuggets controls the ball against the Miami Heat at the Pepsi Center on January 13, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Heat 117-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agr
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Jrue Holiday came right back, though, with a lovely layup to put the Sixers up by one with 16.5 seconds to play. Then, Miller took Andre Iguodala—Philly’s best defender—off the dribble from the left wing. Denver’s Andre scored a layup over Philly’s Andre to give Denver the lead with seven seconds left.

With four seconds to play after that, Iggy made one free throw to tie the game at 96. Almost incredibly, Miller missed his field-goal attempt at the buzzer to end regulation.

In the free basketball period, Turner then opened Philly’s scoring. He also ripped his 11th rebound of the game, which led to a possession that gave the Sixers the lead, 100-98.

The battle in the first overtime game for both teams suddenly became as riveting as a 76ers game has been this season. Thaddeus Young then scored two buckets in a row—the second with about 1:40 left to play. He finished the game with 22 points and seven rebounds.

Next, tied at 104 with 55.7 seconds left, Turner was called for a very questionable offensive foul. Miller then scored off a pick-and-roll play to give the Nuggets the lead.

On the next possession to hopefully tie the game, Jrue Holiday turned it over on an errant pass that stuck in Arron Afflalo’s arms. The Sixers were forced to foul him, and Afflalo knocked in both free throws.

Miller had, unfortunately for Philly, helped deal the Sixers their first home loss of the season. Denver's Andre also finished two rebounds shy of a triple double. He was the story of the game for the usually-feisty Nuggets.

But, Turner was the man for Philly in this one. And, if Evan can keep up his manly play, then he’ll get an added boost of confidence. More so, perhaps, he’ll also soon validate, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the Sixers taking him so early in 2010. He finished the game with 20 points, two steals and two assists to three turnovers.

Notes: Spencer Hawes sat out this game with an Achilles ailment. So, rookie Nick Vucevic got his first start, but accrued four fouls relatively early and watched for much of the game. Jrue Holiday had four assists and two turnovers. The Sixers led 28-19 after the first quarter.

Contact Lake Cruise: Lakecruise@att.net

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