Sixers earn win after Young's huge 3-pointer
Thad Young finished with 11 points after nailing a game-winning three-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining in Wednesday's win over the Bobcats. (USA Today Images)
It was a pretty quiet night for him up to that point. Before the last shot, Thaddeus Young had made three baskets the entire evening -- and none from three-point range.
Wednesday’s game against the Bobcats at the Wells Fargo Center was tied with 15.4 seconds left. After calling a timeout, Sixers head coach Brett Brown had to decide who would get the ball in the final moments.
Evan Turner seemed like the probable candidate. He scored 12 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter to help the Sixers hold off the Bobcats. But instead of going with the hot hand, Brown called a pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop play for Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young.
Carter-Williams had a big night. He scored 20 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists. That part made sense. But to Brown’s mind, so did the Young component. He’s had an excellent year, even if he had a slow night. That’s what Brown went with -- and it worked.
As Carter-Williams drove the lane, two Bobcats collapsed on the point guard, which left Young wide open from beyond the arc.
“I don’t know what they were thinking when they both ran to Mike,” Young said. “I was kind of like wide open, and I was like ‘OK, I’m making this shot. I haven’t made [a three] the whole game. Whatever it takes, it’s going to go down.’”
It went down.
Sixers 95, Bobcats 92 (see instant replay).
Young’s big shot helped end a four-game losing streak for the Sixers. It was the team’s first home win in regulation since Nov. 8. It was just their second home win in their last eight games overall at the Wells Fargo Center. And it was also just the second victory of the season for the Sixers after failing to score 100 or more points. To distill it further: It was an unlikely win, but one the Sixers needed.
“They both ran at Mike and I was like, ‘This is the most perfect look that you can ever get as far as a shot,’” said Young, who scored 11 points to go with five rebounds. It was just the fourth time in the last 12 games that he didn’t score 20 or more points. “And I knocked it down.”
That Brown called a play that led to Young taking the final shot from distance says quite a bit about the kind of season the forward is having. Young is averaging a career-high in points, assists and steals per game. He’s also making more three-pointers per game than ever before, and he’s shooting them at a career-best percentage.
Brown said Carter-Williams “made a hell of a pass” to find Young for the game-winner, and he did. But Brown had the confidence in Young to call the play -- and Young had the ability to make a shot that, before this season, he hadn’t regularly knocked down in three years.
“I hope it’s an indication that [Young] feels like he’s investing time in that,” Brown said. “I hope he feels that he has a team and a coaching staff that encourages him to do that. And he’s got a point guard that understands that he has a pretty special asset when Thad is in that mood, with the percentages that he has.”
The Sixers shot 50.6 percent from the field against the Bobcats, which helped them overcome some other numbers that weren’t nearly as good. The Sixers made only 40 percent from the line, and they committed an almost-impossible 24 turnovers that led to 25 points for Charlotte.
Despite that, the Sixers played sound defense, holding the Bobcats to 39.8 percent shooting from the floor and just 25 percent from three-point range. The Sixers also out-rebounded the Bobcats 50-42. Spencer Hawes led that effort, grabbing 14 rebounds to go with 17 points (including three three-pointers).
“It validates the importance of us guarding,” Brown said about winning the game even with the turnover and free-throw issues. “Because, to overcome the numbers you just said … you’re not winning those games. And we did. And we did because we played, for the most part, pretty good team defense.”