PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Josh Davis sure has come a long way from Idaho.
Allen Iverson had 28 points and 10 assists, and Davis moved into the starting lineup and added a career-high 19 points to help the Philadelphia 76ers snap a three-game losing streak with a 110-97 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
“Coming from the road I came from, it was a surprising turn of events,” Davis said of his second career start. “I’m just excited I could do it.”
Davis, the CBA’s most valuable player last season with the Idaho Stampede, hadn’t played more than 10 minutes in a game this season but started ahead of veteran power forward Kenny Thomas and logged 26 minutes. Davis had never scored more than five points in an NBA game and played just 39 minutes this season.
“I think coach wasn’t surprised and I don’t think anyone in the organization was,” Davis said. “I’m just excited I could go out there and show everyone else what they’ve already seen.”
Signed as a long-range threat, Davis scored 11 straight Philadelphia points in the third quarter, including consecutive 3s that stretched the lead to 78-61.
The Sixers made eight of their first 10 shots, went 13-for-20 from the floor in the third quarter and shot 50 percent overall.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers could be overheard yelling in the locker room that basketball was “a team game.”
“I told them they have to play together,” Rivers said. “When things get tough, we seem to fall apart.”
“When you’re on a three-game losing streak, you can’t remain at the status quo,” coach Jim O’Brien said. “What you saw is our starting lineup.”
O’Brien, who coached the Celtics for three years before resigning in January, sure knows how to beat his former team—he got his first win with Philadelphia against Boston in the season opener three weeks ago.
Benching Thomas, who was averaging 7.4 points, wasn’t a total surprise. He’d been losing minutes to Corliss Williamson and sat out the entire fourth quarter in four of the last five games.
Thomas was visibly upset over the benching, saying he didn’t know what he did to lose his spot.
Last season, Thomas was one of only 11 NBA players to average a double-double with 13.6 points and 10.1 rebounds, but he was only 11-for-42 from the floor in his last five games.
O’Brien said he wanted a defensive unit that showed more intensity at the start of each half. Willie Green also was a victim of O’Brien’s philosophy, losing his starting shooting guard spot twice already this year.
“So it’s pretty much me then,” Thomas said. “He said unit, but, hey, I’m not in the starting lineup. I’ve never shot this bad in my career. He’s the coach. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win games.”
O’Brien said Thomas “can still have a great year” and would fight his way back into the rotation. Thomas said of that comment: “I played 3 minutes tonight. Hey, I’m going to come out and play hard every night. I did it for every other coach I had. I did it for Larry Brown.”
The fans erupted when Eagles WR Terrell Owens arrived late in the second quarter. Owens received a prolonged ovation and slapped hands with fans as he walked to his courtside seat. One man won a craziest fan promotion by imitating Owens’ touchdown celebrations. Eagles Keith Adams, Todd Pinkston and Hugh Douglas also were at the game. … Former Saint Joseph’s standout Delonte West, Boston’s first-round pick, was unable to play while recovering from a broken right thumb. Rivers said West likely would be activated next week.