Turner puzzled by lack of calls

Turner puzzled by lack of calls

February 25, 2013, 7:30 pm
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On Sunday, Jrue Holiday scored 30 points on 12-of-24 shooting, scoring one more point than Carmelo Anthony, who scored 16 of his 29 at the foul line. Evan Turner finished with 21 points, eight assists and six rebounds. He took 18 shots to finish with his point total, compared to Amar’e Stoudemire, who scored 22 points, but was 9 for 10 from the floor.

Still, New York’s big two ended up with 51 combined points, as did Turner and Holiday. Most days, you will like your chances against the Knicks if you equal the scoring prowess of their two stars with two of your own.

Turner got in a scruff with Stoudemire late in the first quarter that resulted in Turner receiving a technical foul. To Turner’s credit, he was able to properly channel his anger after the incident and turn in a productive outing.

“The one thing about Evan that I so admire is his competitive nature,” Doug Collins said. “Evan would take on the other team by himself if he could and I love that about him but I don't want him to feel like he has to do that.”

So what spurred the tussle with Stoudemire?

“Amar’e scratched my face and he and I locked arms for a second so I thought I could dribble and I just lost my cool because it happened right in front of [the ref],” Turner said. “And the night before with the Heat you get hit a few times and don't get calls and it kind of just boils over.”

Turner was 5 for 5 at the foul line in the first quarter Sunday and finished 7 for 7, but once again the opposition had a huge advantage over the Sixers at the charity stripe. The Knicks made 10 more free throws than Collins’ squad, a far too common theme for the Sixers this year.

“I talked to Evan and Jrue today about a couple moves they make and how they can help draw fouls,” Collins said. “They have to get shot fakes, getting guys in the air, having them violate your space. I think we gave Carmelo seven free throws on jump shots yesterday. When you are 6 of 18, but get to the line 18 times, all the sudden you have a 30-point game.”

The Sixers have attempted 903 free throws this season, second-fewest out of the NBA’s 30 teams. By comparison, the Lakers have shot 1,564 free throws, the most in the league.

Holiday, who leads the Sixers in scoring with 19.2 points per game, is one of three guards in the NBA scoring at least 15 points or more, but averaging fewer than 3.5 free throws per game.

Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Milwaukee’s J.J. Redick, like Holiday, have a knack for scoring but infrequently get to the foul line.

“Sometimes I don't understand why Jrue doesn't get calls,” Turner said. “You try to find body contact, take an extra dribble and deliver a blow but some nights you just don't get it. In certain situations I see Jrue get raked across the face and they don't call it but that's basketball.”

In a season filled with an abundance of disappointment, the play of Turner alongside Holiday has shown great potential. There were many who doubted that the two could co-exist and be true to their talents. Turner, the more emotional of the two, gives Holiday all the credit for finding a way to showcase Turner without sacrificing his own abilities.

“I think it is the unselfishness of Jrue,” Turner said. “Sometimes he will say, ‘Go get the ball,’ or coach may call a play for Jrue and Jrue will say, ‘No, Evan is hot.’ I think that is just Jrue being unselfish. Jrue can be the best at something and he gives somebody else all the credit.

“He tried to tell me he can't score on his 15-year-old little brother, and I say, ‘Really Jrue? You are a professional and an All-Star.’ And he says, ‘No, really, I can't score on my little brother.’ Jrue can dance, but he will say ‘my brother dances better.’ That is pretty much the unselfishness of Jrue and recognizing stuff, and coach recognizing stuff and gaining trust. I get to run certain plays to help and attack.”

After scoring just two points in the loss to Indiana on Feb. 6, Turner has strung together six consecutive double-figure scoring nights. However, he is shooting just 39 percent in the six-game stretch and he has not made a three-pointer since Jan. 26, missing his last 13 attempts after connecting on 36 of 85 prior.

When Turner was shooting 42 percent from the three-point line through the end of January, he was in the top-15 of the NBA. His recent struggles from long range have him falling back to a six-way tie for 65th in the league at 37 percent.

Despite the team’s lack of free throw attempts and makes, all in all, the third-year player is having a very good individual season, averaging career-highs in points (14), rebounds (6.6) and assists (4.4)

“I always believe you have to pay your dues,” Turner said. “There are very few people who come into the NBA and are dominant people. I understand that before stuff gets better it is going to get worse. My rookie year, my sophomore year, they weren't the best but it has gotten better and even though we lost last night, I feel like we took a lot from that.

“Things are going to keep getting better. It is about the journey, not stuff that happens in a month. We are going to pay our dues and with the young core we have things are going to end up the way we want them to. Muhammad Ali said even the greatest have to suffer sometimes. Everyone is going to go through pains and tough moments.”

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