Nick Young relishing time in starting lineup

Nick Young relishing time in starting lineup

January 27, 2013, 6:00 pm
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The Sixers used their eighth different lineup combination to start Saturday's game. It included Nick Young and Spencer Hawes and resulted in a five-point lead after the first quarter. Young ended up playing 41 minutes and scoring 20 points.

"We have been coming out flat in the first quarter, and that is something we have been stressing about," Young said at Sunday's practice. "We all just came together and did something about it."

Young, who started for the fourth time this season on Saturday, has no idea how long the coaching staff will stick with the current lineup. But he does know that after not playing at all in the win over Houston two weeks ago he has taken advantage of hearing his number called.

"I have been there before -- my rookie year, my second year -- I don't want to go back there," Young said of not playing in the past. "Not being on the court really hurts, and I want to be out there playing and I feel I can do something that helps this team out."

Over the last five games, Young is averaging 15 points shooting 47 percent compared to his season numbers of 10.7 points per game on 41 percent shooting.

"One of the things Nick did when he got the DNP was he was the first guy to get upstairs and get in his extra work in the weight room," associate head coach Michael Curry said. "All the sudden Nick's preparation was better. When Nick's preparation is good, his production is good on the court."

Curry ran Sunday's practice for Doug Collins, who was home recovering from a sinus infection that forced him to leave Saturday's game early in the third quarter. Collins is "listed" as day to day.

Young started in place of the injured Jason Richardson against the Knicks and will likely do the same on Monday because Richardson was unable to practice Sunday. A sore knee has sidelined Richardson for three straight games.

Young enjoys playing in the backcourt alongside the talented Jrue Holiday, who scored a career-high 35 points Saturday. Young, better known as Swaggy P, decided Holiday should now be known by a nickname as well.

"I was saying, 'All-Star, All-Star,' everytime he scored," Young said. "Anything I can do out there -- he was laughing and it kept him going."

The Sixers go into Monday's game against the Grizzlies, a team they beat in late December, looking for their first winning streak in two months.

"We need two wins in a row sometime soon," Holiday said. "Hopefully we can come out like we did last game, come out aggressive and win that first quarter because then good things happen."

The Sixers are 10-1 when winning the first quarter and remain undefeated when taking a lead into the final frame.