PHILADELPHIA – Evan Turner forgot about the missed shots and craved another chance.
His short memory proved useful in the clutch for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Turner drove past Courtney Lee and tossed up an off-balance, right-handed shot for the winner with 3.9 seconds left Friday night to lead Philadelphia to a 95-94 overtime victory against the Boston Celtics.
Turner had 26 points and 10 rebounds but missed his first four shots in overtime. Coach Doug Collins told Turner at the start of overtime to take over and lead the Sixers to a win over an Atlantic Division rival. He finally snapped his slump with the game on the line.
“Hopefully it’s the first of many,” Turner said. “I’m glad I was able to break through.”
His 13-footer almost wasn’t enough at the end. But Rajon Rondo slipped and his ankles buckled on the last possession, costing him a chance to hit the potential winner, a dud ending to his triple-double.
“I should have took a layup,” Rondo said. “It’s frustrating, but the good thing about the NBA is you’ve got a chance to bounce back tomorrow night and get it back.”
The teams meet again Saturday night in Boston. Unless he makes the winner, Rondo will have a tough time topping this one on short rest: 16 points, 14 assists and a season-high 13 rebounds for his 14th career triple-double. It’s the first time Boston lost any of those games.
Kevin Garnett had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Paul Pierce scored 27 points. Jeff Green, who gave Boston its last lead in overtime with a 3-pointer, scored 19 points.
“Philly plays us tough, we all know that,” Garnett said. “But we’re building something here, and we’ll take what we need out of this and get ready to get right back after them.”
Thaddeus Young added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers. Jrue Holiday had 15 points, Jason Richardson 13, and Lavoy Allen grabbed 11 rebounds.
This game belonged to Turner. He finished 10 of 26 from the field but tossed in five assists and continued to shine in Collins’ eyes.
“I feel a real connection with Evan and it feels great,” Collins said. “I don’t know that Evan has trusted a lot of people in his life but I hope he trusts me.”
Turner and Pierce nudged each other and yapped at the free-throw line throughout a fourth quarter in which neither team budged. Turner recovered after Pierce tipped his jumper and drove down the lane for a layup and an 89-87 lead with 49 seconds left.
Jason Terry missed a drive and Garnett couldn’t convert the easy putback to give the Sixers a chance to seal the win. But their miss led to more life for the Celtics. This time, the veterans delivered.
Pierce escaped a fast double team and swung the ball to Garnett, who buried the tying 20-footer with 7.7 seconds left.