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Thaddeus Young leads 76ers past Kings

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia 76ers forward Thaddeus Young is used to playing the role of spark plug. On Friday night, he did a lot more than that, though.

Young scored six of his 23 points in a decisive 17-2 fourth-quarter run, as the Sixers - who earlier frittered away a 19-point lead -- rallied to beat the Sacramento Kings, 89-80.

Young also equaled his career high of 15 rebounds.

Jrue Holiday scored 21 points and Nick Young 20 for the Sixers (20-26), who won consecutive games for the first time since late November. However, they are just 10-20 since winning 10 of their first 16 games this season.

Tyreke Evans, a native of nearby Chester, Pa., had 29 points to lead the Kings (17-31), who dropped their second straight and fell to 5-19 on the road. Isaiah Thomas added 24 and DeMarcus Cousins chipped in 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The Sixers overcame a season-high-tying 20 turnovers, eight of those by Holiday, to prevail.

"We sure don't make anything easy on ourselves," coach Doug Collins said.

Holiday preferred to look at the bottom line.

"A win is a win is a win," Holiday said.

Thaddeus Young's jumper with 9:50 left gave the Sixers a one-point lead. He added a hook shot moments later, starting the decisive flurry, which gave the Sixers an 89-75 lead with 3:56 remaining. Holiday also had six points in the run, and the Kings missed seven straight shots from the floor.

Young is asked to do more than just provide a spark off the bench this season.

"It's definitely new," Young said of his role.

He has been a starter all season after coming off the bench in Collins' first two years as coach. Young has also been asked to do more at key moments, with the departures of veterans like Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Elton Brand.

Those guys, Young said, could "make plays and take different shots, and get us to the Promised Land."

He began the night second on the team in scoring, and first in rebounding. He ended it with his 12th double-double of the season, and his first since Jan. 18 at Toronto. It was also the third time this season he recorded 20-plus points and 14-plus rebounds in the same game. The last Sixer to do that more than three times in one season was Chris Webber, in 2005-06.

"He's running full-speed, up and down the court, all the time," Nick Young said of Thaddeus (no relation). "He doesn't stop running. He doesn't stop moving. He always hustles. That's rare. And when you can score the ball like that, it's even tougher."

The Sixers had led 48-29 midway through the second quarter and were still up by 18, at 58-40, early in the third. But the Kings went on a 23-8 run behind Evans, who scored 11 points in that flurry. In all, he had 13 in the period, which ended with the Sixers holding a 72-68 lead.

"I thought our guys did a great job of coming back out in the third quarter to make an incredible run," Sacramento coach Keith Smart said. "Did a great job defensively."

The Kings took their first lead of the night, at 73-72, on three free throws by Thomas with 10:35 left. Thomas, who was fouled by Nick Young while attempting a 3-pointer from the left corner, had also made three free throws with 3.2 seconds left in the third quarter when Holiday fouled him as he attempted a 3-pointer from the right wing.

"Those are the things we have to fight all the time - those kinds of plays," Collins said.

Holiday and Thaddeus Young scored 13 points apiece in the first half as the Sixers claimed a 48-29 lead late in the second quarter. Their lead was 54-39 at halftime.

Evans scored 13 points in the first half for Sacramento and Cousins contributed eight points and eight rebounds.

Evans was asked afterward about the possibility of the Kings finally putting things together.

"We're going to have to," he said. "If not, we're going to have to change something. ... We have great talent. We know we can play with anybody, but we have to be ready to play all night, every night."

Notes: Besides Evans, the Kings have two other Delaware Valley connections: Forward Jason Thompson grew up in New Jersey and attended Rider University and guard/forward John Salmons played his high school ball at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. ... Smart said the absence of a "paint protector" is a big reason the Kings have allowed an NBA-worst 103.1 points a game. The other problem has been some untimely turnovers. "When you turn the ball over above the foul line," he said, "those are very difficult plays to defend." ... Sixers guard Jason Richardson missed his sixth straight game with a sore left knee. ... Salmons, identified by Smart as "a glue guy and a calming spirit," returned to the Kings' lineup after missing Wednesday's loss in Boston with the flu. He scored just two points, on 1-for-7 shooting. ... Ex-King Spencer Hawes scored 10 points for the Sixers.
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