BOSTON – The Sixers have been searching for a go-to guy since Allen Iverson was traded in 2006.
By default, Lou Williams has been the guy with the ball in his hands down the stretch for the last couple of years. But since he was drafted No. 2 in 2010, Evan Turner has been the man with the most potential to be that guy.
On Monday, at the end of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Turner had his moment. With the Sixers down one and 45 seconds left in the game, the ball was in Turner’s hands. He was isolated on the left wing on Rajon Rondo, a scary and competent defender.
Turner was having an awful night. At that point, he was 3-for-10 with five turnovers. Sixers coach Doug Collins said afterward that Turner was “out of synch.”
But that didn’t matter as Turner drove into the paint and got around Rondo. Paul Pierce came to help, in position to take the charge. But Turner somehow avoided the contact, slipped to Pierce’s side, and put in an incredible scoop shot off the glass.
“Evan Turner made a miraculous shot,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
It ended up being the deciding basket in what was an ugly game, a 82-81 victory for the Sixers to even the series. The Sixers followed it up with a tremendous defensive possession, benefited from an offensive foul on Kevin Garnett, and put the game away at the free throw line.
Turner had a similarly important bucket in the first round against Chicago. But this was another step up in intensity. And another notch in his belt.
Turner has been inconsistent from game to game, quarter to quarter even. He’s yet to fill his potential as a No. 2 pick. But that one play at the end of Game 2 was another glimpse of just how good Turner can be.