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Holiday helps 76ers get past Jazz

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA - The best way to give his team a shot in the arm, Jrue Holiday figured, was simply to make a shot.

Holiday nailed his first four shots Friday night, and scored 18 of his 26 points in the first half, propelling the Sixers to a 99-93 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Holiday also notched six points in the last 4:11, as the Sixers (5-4) kept the Jazz at bay to end a two-game losing streak. The Sixers had also dropped their previous three at home.

Jason Richardson added 20 points for the Sixers, who had shot just 29.8 percent in Wednesday's loss to Detroit, worst in the history of the Wells Fargo Center and worst by a Sixers team in eight years.

But Holiday drilled two 3-pointers early in Friday's game, then added two more baskets as the Sixers jumped ahead 30-18 late in the first quarter.

"Those are two big shots for them," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "(They) went in, and I think he was off and running from there. And the team kind of picked up from his energy early."

Holiday, who had 10 of his points in the first quarter, shot 10-for-21 in all. He also finished with seven assists and six rebounds.

"I think I had to come out aggressive, especially offensively," he said. "We haven't been scoring that well."

But they did in this one, making 46 percent of their attempts and sinking a season-high 10 3-pointers, in 18 attempts.

"It was nice to see the ball go in the basket to start the game," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "I think that really relaxed our guys, and I thought it really helped."

The Sixers, badly outrebounded in their two previous games, also owned a 43-40 advantage on the glass against the Jazz, a good rebounding team. And Collins singled out Kwame Brown for his defensive work against Jazz center Al Jefferson, who shot 5-for-14 and scored just four of his 15 points in the second half.

"We don't win the game without him tonight," Collins said of Brown.

Paul Millsap scored 22 points and DeMarre Carroll had 17 off the bench for the Jazz (4-6), who dropped their second straight.

Utah, which fell behind 66-53 with 4:05 left in the third quarter, answered with an 18-5 flurry that featured seven points by Carroll and six by Millsap, allowing the Jazz to tie it at 71-71 with 10:11 remaining in the game.

The Sixers responded by scoring 13 of the game's next 15 points, four each by Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young, to seize an 84-73 lead with 6:39 to play.

Utah managed one last run, cutting the gap to 86-82 on a 3-pointer by Mo Williams with 3:29 left. Holiday, who ended a string of eight straight misses by making a jumper moments earlier, then slithered to the basket to score, as the Sixer reeled off six straight points. Holiday added two free throws with 43 seconds left

Thaddeus Young (14), Nick Young (12), Turner (11) and Lavoy Allen (10) also cracked double figures in points for the Sixers.

Williams had 12 for Utah, which dropped to 1-6 on the road.

"This team has a lot of pride, so I never question that," Corbin said. "When this team gets down, they don't want to get embarrassed, so they are going to fight. ... But we need to make sure that we do as much as we can not to get down as much as we do."

NOTES: Sixers center Andrew Bynum, who has yet to play this season because of a bone bruise to his right knee, said before the game that he now has an identical injury in the other knee. It's not clear how the injury occurred, but Bynum noticed swelling on the left knee Tuesday and visited his doctor. Bynum classified the new injury as "a little bit of a setback," but insisted that it wouldn't affect the timetable for his return. The team had previously announced he would resume basketball activities Dec. 10 and then be able to play anywhere from a week to four weeks afterward. But general manager Tony DiLeo said otherwise: "I think (in) mid-December we'll reevaluate him. He'll go back and be re-evaluated, take another MRI and see what the progress is." ... Williams injured his right thumb on the first play of the game, and had it heavily wrapped afterward.
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