Though they may not be household names, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young are emerging as go-to guys for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Visiting Philadelphia tries for a third consecutive victory Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats, who hope to avoid a sixth loss in seven meetings in this series.
The 76ers (9-6) entered this season surrounded by plenty of hype thanks to the addition of Andrew Bynum, but it's been Holiday, Turner and Young who've led the way with Bynum out indefinitely.
Holiday is averaging a career-high 18.5 points and the fourth-year guard ranks third in the league with 9.1 assists per game. Two nights after compiling a career-best 33 points and 13 assists in a 104-101 win over Phoenix, Holiday posted 18 and seven Tuesday as Philadelphia escaped with a 100-98 victory over Dallas.
"Jrue has been big for us. He's been huge," said Young, who leads the Sixers with a career-best 7.8 rebounds per game. "He's shown growth each and every year."
Turner and Young also came up big against the Mavericks, scoring 22 and 20 points, respectively, on a combined 15-of-26 shooting. Turner, who averaged 8.2 points over his first two seasons in the league, has recorded 13.5 per game in 2012-13 and 17.8 on 49.4 percent shooting over his last six contests.
"I think I'm getting more comfortable and calmed myself down a little bit, and just taking and making good shots and just playing hard," Turner said. "Right now I'm riding a wave and playing well and trying to be consistent. There are gonna be some off nights, but at the same time I just think being mentally confident will help out."
The 76ers should be confident against the Bobcats, having taken three straight in the series by an average of 17.0 points. Philadelphia had dropped 10 of 11 at Charlotte before winning its last two there, including a 105-80 victory March 19 behind 20 points each from Holiday and Young.
Coming off back-to-back losses, the Bobcats (7-7) return home looking to get back on track. Charlotte fell 114-69 at Oklahoma City on Monday - its most lopsided defeat in franchise history - then came up short 94-91 at Atlanta two nights later.
Ben Gordon went 7 for 10 from 3-point range against the Hawks and scored 20 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough.
"I just tried to be aggressive and force the issue a little bit," Gordon said. "My teammates did a good job of finding me. That was pretty much it. It was a good night, but I much prefer to get the W."
Charlotte, which again has a chance to surpass its win total from last season, will likely need a more efficient effort from the field. The Bobcats are shooting 40.7 percent to rank 29th in the NBA and have been limited to 34.2 percent in their last two games.
They're 5-3 at home after going 4-29 in Charlotte in 2011-12. The Bobcats are giving up 96.1 points per game on their own court - significantly better than their road mark of 105.7.
The 76ers are allowing a league-low average of 87.4 points as the visiting team.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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