Philadelphia vs. Boston: Tired Celtics No Match for Sixers' Evan Turner

Professor BushCorrespondent IIIMarch 7, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Evan Turner #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers and Team Chuck posts up against Kemba Walker #1 of the Charlotte Bobcats and Team Shaq during the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge part of the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend at Amway Center on February 24, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

First place was on the line on Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center, when the Philadelphia 76ers hosted the Boston Celtics. Wednesday evening, at least, there was little doubt who the better team was.

The Sixers, reeling from their poor play over the last 10 games, came out on fire. The Celtics were on a five-game winning streak. But playing their third game in four nights, they were playing with an empty tank all game.

The first quarter was highlighted by a stretch in which the Sixers had three dunks in a row. The string was capped by an Evan Turner alley-oop pass to Andre Iguodala after a Jrue Holiday steal from Ray Allen. That gave the Sixers a 20-11 lead with 5:15 left in the quarter.

The Sixers finished the period with a 33-17 lead. Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen looked like they just wanted to take a shower and go home.

Turner, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, played the entire first period, scoring 10 points and pulling down six rebounds. While Turner was the NCAA Player of the Year in 2010, his time with the Sixers has not yet met the high expectations the team had for him. 

One local writer this week was calling for Turner to be traded. There have even been rumors that he is suffering from some "secret problem."

Whatever the case, Turner put his exceptional skills to great use on Wednesday. He ended the game with 26 points and nine rebounds. He made shots inside and outside on both sides of the court, and he outjumped taller players for rebounds.

Before the third period was over, the Celtics started emptying their bench, so there was at least 15 minutes of garbage time to end the game. There were two tell-tale signs of just how tired the Celtics were. First, they made Elton Brand look fast. Second, they were out-rebounded by 20 boards.

So, the Sixers dispensed with one division rival on Wednesday by the score of 103-71. Let's see how they do when they travel to the Garden to take on Jeremy Lin and the Knicks over the weekend.