BOSTON — Evan Turner wasn’t waiting for his coach to call timeout. Once he got the ball, he knew he had to take the last shot.
Fortunately for the Philadelphia 76ers, it went in at the buzzer.
“I wasn’t listening at all,” Turner said. “I was just going to get it and try to get a good shot up.”
He drove into the key and went up for the short shot that gave the 76ers a 95-94 win over Boston on Wednesday night as they jumped ahead of the Celtics in the standings – out of last place in the Atlantic Division.
The win “is huge” for the team’s confidence, Turner said. “We pulled through and came back from giving up a lead.”
Deciding whether to call a timeout “is one of the most difficult decisions because it seems like life is in slow motion,” said Philadelphia Coach Brett Brown, a South Portland native. “I’ve learned the busted play, the broken play, and the random play is probably as good an environment as you’re going to get often.”
With the 76ers trailing by one, Michael Carter-Williams rebounded the ball after Kris Humphries missed a jumper with 12 seconds left. The rookie dribbled, then gave the ball to Turner just past midcourt. And when Turner was guarded by a defender 4 inches shorter, he was in good shape.
“I saw Jerryd Bayless switch on to me as opposed to Jeff Green, so I knew I had a little bit of an advantage,” Turner said.
He released his shot just in time to give the 76ers only their third win in 13 games.
“Evan Turner has a history of doing that in those situations,” said Boston Coach Brad Stevens, whose team plays Sunday afternoon at home against Orlando. “That’s why I thought he’d shoot it.”
The Celtics (15-33) lost for the 19th time in 22 games.
Spencer Hawes led Philadelphia (15-31) with 20 points and tied his career high with four 3-pointers. Turner had 16 points and eight assists, and Thaddeus Young added 16 points.
Jared Sullinger led Boston with 24 points and 17 rebounds but missed 16 of 25 shots.
“He played his best game in a while but he still didn’t shoot it the way that he’s used to shooting it,” Stevens said. “That said, we have to have great performances to win.”
Green had 18 points, but just five after the first quarter for Boston.
Sullinger had broken a 90-90 tie with two free throws, putting Boston ahead with 3:06 left.
Then both teams had trouble connecting from the line.
Carter-Williams missed 1 of 2 for the 76ers, Bayless missed two for the Celtics and Young also missed two. Carter-Williams missed another one before sinking his second, tying the game at 92 with 1:01 remaining.
Humphries put Boston back on top when he tipped in Sullinger’s missed layup with 42 seconds remaining.
Philadelphia’s free-throw troubles seemed to end when Turner made one, cutting Boston’s lead to 94-93.
But he missed the second and Bayless rebounded. That possession ended when Humphries missed his jumper, setting up the 76ers for the winning shot.