The Sixers had a chance Wednesday to run, and they did. They ran the Celtics out of the Wells Fargo Center, 103-71.
Boston played on tired legs, coming off consecutive overtime wins -- both at home. It was clear from early in the game the Celtics weren't in a running mood. They weren't pushing the ball to the basket. Sixers coach Doug Collins credited his defense with keeping Boston out of the paint. Let's say it was a combination of the two.
The 76ers were in a slump coming into the game, so they ran their way out of it for one night in South Philly. Evan Turner started his second straight game and played point guard ... pause to consider Jrue Holiday's new role on the team should this continue ... with a pace Boston had no interest contesting.
Turner rebounded and he ran. He got loose balls off turnovers and he ran. He set up the halfcourt offense and he drove. The second-year guard was living at the front of the rim early, and it seemed to take some heart out of a weary Boston team.
No one will compare Turner to the Celtics' Rajon Rondo, at least not right now. Rondo has a championship ring and a lot of wins under his belt. But on this night, he might as well have stayed at the hotel because he didn't have a chance.
Turner had Collins comparing him ever so indirectly but with sheepish pride to the great Magic Johnson, specifically for the way Turner rebounded the ball and took off running with it. No hesitation -- just grab it and go.
It allowed the rest of the team to take off, no one needing to hang back. Collins called Turner his best rebounder, and he meant it in this vein -- when Turner gets on the defensive boards he transitions his team to offense so fast that it's tough to defend, especially when most of your best players are NBA old and coming off two straight overtime games.
If Turner plays point guard like this, it will be Holiday's job to find a new role in this offense because he can't do what Turner did on Wednesday night. It's not his game. But it is in fact a game the Sixers would love to have.
Collins confessed no doubt that Holiday, Jodie Meeks (coming off the bench now), Andre Iguodala, and Lou Williams will be just fine while Turner handles the ball, runs and drives. He said Turner will start the rest of the year.
The question is whethe others can keep up with him, and whether he can keep up with what he did against Boston.