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Holiday, Young lead Sixers past Wizards, 92-84

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday scored 21 points for the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night, but it was the contribution of others that enabled the Sixers to beat the Washington Wizards 92-84.

Four other players scored in double figures for Philadelphia, paced by ex- Wizard Nick Young with 18. It was only the second time in seven games that five Sixers had scored 10 points or more.

"They kind of saved the day today," Holiday said of his less-heralded teammates.

Thaddeus Young added 14 points for the Sixers (19-26), who won for just the eighth time in 25 games. Backup center Lavoy Allen, who began the night averaging 6.2 points, also had 14. Spencer Hawes chipped in 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Nene had 16 points to pace the Wizards (11-33), who had won seven of their previous 11. Emeka Okafor contributed 15 points and a season-high 17 rebounds.

Martell Webster also scored 15 for Washington, which was without rookie guard Bradley Beal (sprained right wrist) and fell to 3-19 on the road. John Wall finished with nine points and six assists; he shot just 3-for-12 and had five of Washington's 19 turnovers.

"We didn't make things easy," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "We must have left 20 points on the board on fast breaks."

But the Wizards shot just 40 percent from the floor and went 7-for-22 from 3-point range.

"You have nights like this," coach Randy Wittman said. "We have to figure out as a team, when you have a bad night, how you keep playing. Don't put your head down, don't sulk, don't feel sorry for yourself."

Leading 50-48 early in the third quarter, the Sixers went on a 17-5 run to build a 67-53 lead. Young had seven points in the run, including a pair of 3-pointers, and Holiday contributed four.

Philadelphia expanded its lead to 16 early in the fourth period, at 87-71, but Washington scored 13 of the next 15 points, five by Trevor Ariza, to make it 89-84 with 1:40 left. Holiday then made a free throw and a jumper to close out the victory.

Young, in his first year with the Sixers, said it was "a good feeling" to face his former team for the first time, "especially when you get the win, too."

He was making his third straight start and playing heavy minutes for the sixth straight game. He was held out of a Jan. 12 victory over Houston and played just the fourth quarter of a loss to New Orleans three days later.

"Just sitting on the sideline, I don't want to go back to that," Young said. "The opportunity's here. I'm just going to keep going."

Collins said his goal from the beginning of the season was to make Young "a polished player and not Swaggy P., the act," a reference to Young's nickname.

"I'm starting to buy in, what he's talking about, what the coaching staff's talking about," Young said.

Young scored 11 points in the first half as the Sixers took a 48-39 lead. Emeka Okafor had eight points and eight rebounds in the half for Washington.

NOTES: Wittman can relate to the struggles the Sixers have had without injured center Andrew Bynum, seeing as Washington went 5-28 while Wall sat out with a knee injury. "You've got to stay in the fight," Wittman said. "You don't have any control over that. Opportunity presents itself to different guys. In that situation you've got to have guys step up and take advantage of those opportunities." ... Wittman also praised Okafor for being "as consistent as anybody we have." Okafor is averaging 10.4 points and 10.4 rebounds since Dec. 12, and owns respective overall averages of 8.8 and 8.3. ... Beal, who is third among NBA rookies in scoring (13.2), was named to the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Weekend in Houston. ... Sixers guard Jason Richardson missed his fifth straight game with a sore left knee. He traveled to Colorado to receive a second opinion. ... The Sixers also were without reserve guard Damien Wilkins, who sat out for personal

reasons. ... Ariza finished with 12 points for Washington. ... Dorell Wright had seven points, seven rebounds and five assists off the Sixers' bench.
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