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Holiday's happy homecoming lifts Sixers past Lakers

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- With 22.4 seconds remaining and Philadelphia holding a four-point lead over his hometown team, 76ers guard Jrue Holiday was forced into a tough decision.

Hold the ball, play for the foul and give his reeling team a chance to beat the Los Angeles Lakers at the free-throw line. The safe play.

Or take advantage of a parting sea of defenders and lift his team to the win with one defining moment. That takes a little guts.

Perhaps not such a tough call after all.

Holiday took off, split a sagging Los Angeles defense and soared, throwing down a hard dunk to put the 76ers up by six and ice the game.

It was quite the capper for the UCLA product, who stunned his hometown crowd with 26 points and 10 assists to lead the 76ers to a 103-99 win over the Lakers on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

"I was hyped, bro," Holiday said, flashing a wide smile. "I thought right there it was pretty much over. I was up in there. Usually with that much time on the clock, you hold the ball, run down the clock, but I saw an opening and I took it."

Holiday, who hit 10 of 19 shots, scored nine points in a pivotal third quarter in which the 76ers outscored the Lakers 27-23. Evan Turner added 22 points, 13 rebounds and five assists for the 76ers, who had six players score in double figures and all five starters finish with at least nine points. Spencer Hawes had 13 points, five rebounds and six assists off the bench, and Dorell Wright added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 36 points and added six rebounds for Los Angeles (15-16).

Philadelphia's ball movement ultimately doomed the Lakers, who fell to 10-7 at home. The 76ers (15-17) totaled 27 assists to Los Angeles' 17, and Holiday had just one turnover to go along with his 10 assists.

"It's something Coach (Doug Collins) has been preaching on, especially from the beginning of the year," Holiday said. "I've been taking down those (turnover) numbers. Taking care of that ball is, definitely for me, it gives us a better chance of winning."

Philadelphia claimed an 11-point lead over the lackadaisical Lakers less than six minutes into the game, then turned it on late as Los Angeles faded. The Lakers shot just 37.5 percent from the field in the fourth quarter, including 25 percent from 3-point range, while the 76ers shot 50 percent.

"For me, it's common experience, and we lack it," Lakers guard Steve Nash said of the team's defensive woes. "Other teams who are good defensively understand each other. At times, we need a little more passion and energy to execute the schemes."

Added Bryant: "We didn't seem to have energy. We were kind of sluggish, stuck in the mud. When we have games like this, it's an uphill battle for us."

Bryant hit just one of six 3-point attempts and played particularly poorly down the stretch. He had little help in the post, as Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol combined for just three field goals and 18 points against a Philadelphia squad that had lost eight of 10 coming in.

Gasol had 11 points on 2-of-12 shooting but added nine rebounds. Howard shot 1-for-7 and scored seven points, but he had 14 rebounds and five blocked shots.

Los Angeles, which had won six of seven to turn around a season that was quickly unraveling, made just three of 22 3-point tries and 22 of 33 free throws.

"The more time we'll have together, the better we'll get," Howard said. "We have to realize it's a long season, and we have to be patient with each other. We've got to have patience. We've got to stick with it. I know one thing, this won't last forever."

NOTES: Former Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who was traded to Philadelphia in the offseason deal that brought Howard to Los Angeles, remains out with bone bruises on both knees. He did not make the trip with the 76ers. ... Lakers guard Steve Blake (abdominal surgery) missed the game. ... Sixers forward Thaddeus Young (12 points) scored in double figures for the 23rd consecutive game, Philadelphia's longest such streak since Andre Igoudala had a 24-game run in late 2009. ... The 76ers entered the night second in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.74-to-1) after leading the league in 2012 (1.97-to-1). ... The Lakers tied a team record with 10 first-half 3-pointers against the 76ers in their first matchup on Dec. 14 in Philadelphia, which Los Angeles won, 111-98.
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