Holiday, Nick Young lead 76ers over Wizards
By ROB MAADDI
PHILADELPHIA (AP) A "DNP" next to his name was all the motivation Nick Young needed to step up his game.
Young scored 18 points in his first game against his old team, Jrue Holiday had 21 and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Washington Wizards 92-84 Wednesday night.
Young was benched by coach Doug Collins on Jan. 12 against Houston. But he not only got back on the floor, he entered the starting lineup because of a knee injury to Jason Richardson.
Doesn't look like "Swaggy P" is going to sit anytime soon.
"That DNP, it hurt," Young said. "Sitting on the sideline, I don't want to get back to that. I'm starting to buy into what the coaches are talking about."
Collins has been preaching an all-around game to Young since the Sixers signed him as a free agent.
"He has really listened as we've tried to teach," Collins said. "He's focused. I told him when he came here: `My goal is to make you a polished player, not Swaggy P the act, but a player. He has talent. I knew if he focused, he could be a terrific player. He's earned the respect of his teammates and coaches."
The Wizards dropped to 6-5 since John Wall returned from a knee injury. They were 5-28 without him and entered with the second-worst record in the NBA. Wall had nine points on 3-for-12 shooting.
"You are going to have nights like this," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "Their defense played real good. But you still have to get shot attempts. We had some crucial turnovers. We battled, we kept in it."
The Sixers are three games into an eight-game homestand and need to use the home-court advantage to make up some ground in the playoff race. They entered three games behind Boston for the final spot in the East. The Celtics just lost All-Star Rajon Rondo for the season with a knee injury.
Young seemed to enjoy making some big shots. Young spent his first 4 1/2 seasons in Washington before going to the Los Angeles Clippers in a trade last March. He signed a free-agent deal with Philadelphia in the offseason.
"It's a great feeling, especially when you win," Young said.
After the Wizards pulled to 50-48 in the third quarter, Young took over. He nailed consecutive 3-pointers and Allen hit a short jumper, extending the lead to 67-53.
Dorell Wright, seeing his first action in three games, gave the Sixers their biggest lead, 82-67, with a long 3-pointer early in the fourth. Spencer Hawes hit another 3, Holiday scored on a driving layup and Philadelphia withstood a late push.
The Wizards got to 89-84 with 1:40 left on Okafor's dunk. But Holiday made a free throw and then the All-Star iced it with a jumper.
The Sixers are hoping to make a push as they inch closer to getting Andrew Bynum in the lineup for the first time this season. The 7-foot center is expected to make his season and Philadelphia debut after the All-Star break. Bynum, the former Lakers All-Star, has been sidelined by bone bruises in his knees.
"We're only as good as our big men," Collins said.
The Wizards were up 28-25 going into the second quarter, but then got cold. They missed 10 of their first 11 shots in the quarter and had just five points through the first nine minutes.
Philadelphia used a 9-1 run to go up for good. Allen got it started with his second straight 17-footer and capped it with a short jumper for a 40-33 lead.
Allen's playing time had been reduced recently and he scored a total of nine points over the last four games. Allen made his first six shots and finished 7 for 10 from the floor.
Turner beat the buzzer with a pull-up shot to send the Sixers into halftime up 48-39.
NOTES: Wizards rookie guard Bradley Beal didn't play because of a sprained right wrist. ... Sixers guard Jason Richardson is headed to Colorado for a second opinion on his injured left knee. He's missed five straight games. ... Reserve Damien Wilkins wasn't with Philadelphia because of personal reasons. ... Collins coached the Wizards from 2001-03. ... Wizards have lost five straight in Philadelphia.
Updated January 31, 2013