Posted March 08, 2012 on AP on Fox
Evan Turner helped the struggling Philadelphia 76ers earn what they hope was a key victory their last time out. They may need a similar performance from him if they want to end their struggles against the Utah Jazz. The Sixers' new starting shooting guard looks to build on arguably the best performance of his career when his team, seeking its first back-to-back wins in nearly a month, tries to begin turning around a long run of futility against the Jazz on Friday night. Philadelphia (23-17) routed Boston 103-71 on Wednesday behind 26 points and nine rebounds from Turner, who made his second straight start after coming off the bench all season. Coach Doug Collins said Turner, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, would remain a starter for the long haul. "Evan is a great leader," Collins said. "He worked his tail off to be a better basketball player in the offseason and he was when he came back. When he didn't start, I know a part of him said 'I should be.' But he didn't say anything. Evan has extreme confidence. He thinks he's the best player on this team." Turner had plenty of help Wednesday, as six 76ers scored in double figures. Philadelphia, which came in having lost eight of 10, increased its Atlantic Division lead over the Celtics to two games. "I'm just trying to build off this and enjoy the moment," Turner said. "I'm not saying 'I told you so.'" Philadelphia last won two in a row Feb. 11-13, and its history against Utah suggests that drought could continue Friday. The Jazz have won 35 of the last 44 meetings and eight of nine, taking the first matchup of the season 102-99 on Dec. 30 at Salt Lake City. Turner went 0 for 5 from the field and didn't score in that game, and Philadelphia lost despite having five players score in double figures, led by Jrue Holliday with 22 and Louis Williams with 20. Williams, though, missed a potential tying shot with 5.9 seconds left and a 3-point attempt at the buzzer. Derrick Favors had a career-high 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Paul Millsap scored 14 points with 14 rebounds for Utah, which heads into the rematch having won two in a row and four of five. Like the Sixers, the Jazz (19-19) also have a player coming off a dominant game, as Al Jefferson had 31 points, nine rebounds and five assists in a 99-93 victory over Charlotte on Wednesday. Utah, 2-1 on its five-game road trip, outscored the Bobcats 54-36 in the paint and outrebounded them 43-34. "Al was doing a good job of passing the ball tonight," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We need to touch that thing inside before we take our jump shots. That's who we are. We go through him and need him to make the right plays. ... We know if they come and double him we want to make sure we space the floor and make the right plays." The Jazz have given up 95.2 points per game in the last five after allowing 102.5 during a four-game losing streak that preceded their current surge.
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