Holiday closes game as Sixers win third straight

Holiday closes game as Sixers win third straight

March 31, 2013, 2:00 am

The Sixers have won three games in a row -- no small task. They last won three in a row from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4, when they beat Washington, Sacramento and Orlando all at home.

After downing Milwaukee at home on Wednesday and Cleveland on the road on Friday, the Sixers beat Charlotte for a third time this season, 100-92, to put together their fifth three-game win streak of the season and sweep a weekend back-to-back.

"I challenged our guys with eight minutes to go," head coach Doug Collins said. "I said, 'Guys, our record in back-to-backs is 3-15. We have eight minutes to go, we are coming off a couple really nice wins. Do we want to stamp this tonight because we have three days between games?' And we came through."

"He did that," said Evan Turner, who led all scorers for a second straight night with 22 points. "He also bribed us with a couple days off and that kind of helped us out a little bit. But once again we came out and tried to play like a team and it was a great team win."

Turner spoke the truth. He and five of his teammates finished in double figures. As a team, the Sixers had 28 assists against just 10 turnovers. They were sluggish in the first and third quarters thanks to the back-to-back, but that's what depth is for.

On Saturday, Royal Ivey came through with fresh legs. Ivey played great defense, scored eleven points on six shots and provided energy on a night when it was hard to come by, let alone sustain. Doug Collins always delivers an ace of spades to the player who gave the most or lifted the team at a pivotal time. Ivey was that guy Saturday night.

Meanwhile, one night after scoring 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, Jrue Holiday scored 11 of his 14 points in the final frame.

"He closed the game out. That is our all-star," Turner said of his friend and teammate. "He is supposed to step up and make big shots, and he did and he made big defensive stops, all as he should."

Holiday was actually 2-for-13 shooting before he made his final four shots. He knew he was struggling -- he wasn't sure he had made even one shot -- but he knew his teammates trusted him with the game on the line.

"When it comes down to it and you get into the crucial moments, I do think that my teammates have a lot of faith me," Holiday said. "As you saw today they and the coaches, I wouldn't say look to me, but encourage me to go down and make the plays that need to be made to close our a game."

In Holiday's repertoire was a left-handed slam that gave the Sixers a seven-point lead with four minutes to play. It was a rare occasion during which Holiday expressed visible emotion.

"It felt good because (Bismack) Byombo had contested a number of my shots before that and he went up there and tried to test it," Holiday said.

"I thought the big play was when Jrue dunked the ball," Collins said. "It gave us juice similar to the play we had against Miami."

Holiday delivered a similar dunk going by LeBron James in the Sixers last meeting with the Heat, although they still lost that game by four points.