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Sixers vs. Wizards: John Wall vs. Evan Turner Still Not a Thing

Apr 12, 2013, 6:51 PM EDT

Hands up if you saw this coming. With the Sixers trailing 60-43 at half—yes, they gave up 60 points to the friggin' Raptors in 24 minutes of basketball—you'd be forgiven for giving up on this one (as I was seriously tempted to do) and finding something more purposeful and less character-building to do with your Friday night. After all, the Sixers haven't exactly been known for big comebacks this season—generally, when they're down, they stay down, and the game's basically over halfway through the fourth quarter. But it wasn't so in this one, and the reason why has two names: Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young.

I remember a couple weeks there where I wondered if the Sixers actually
may have lucked out getting Evan Turner instead of John Wall in the 2010
draft. (OK I didn’t really wonder that, but I definitely wondered if it
wasn’t impossible that I might one day wonder that.) Wall regressed
some as a scorer from his first year to his second when many expected he
would take a leap forward, and his Wizards team never really improved
either. When Wall sat out injured at the beginning of the year while
Evan was having the best month of his career, it was like “Hm, maybe
this wasn’t such a bad coinflip after all.”

Nope, we lost big
time. John Wall has exploded as a burgeoning All-Star since returning to
the NBA in mid-January, averaging about 18 points and eight assists a
game on career-best 45% shooting, and the Wizards, who started the
season as one of the league’s heavy lottery favorites, have gone 24-22
since his return, looking well on their way to respectability (while
still on track for a top ten pick in the draft to help retool for the
future). Meanwhile, Evan Turner has turned back into Evan Turner and the
Sixers have been the Sixers. Harumph.

Anyway, the two players,
forever linked as the 1-2 selections in the ’10 draft, will square off
again tonight as the Sixers head to Washington for their fourth-to-last
game of the season. Even if the Liberty Ballers lose out from here,
they’ll probably still end up with the 11th pick in the lottery, unless
the Raptors can somehow catch fire in their last four games, all against
playoff teams. More likely, sadly, might be the Blazers sneaking up
from in front of the Sixers, Portland having basically thrown in the
towel on the season, losing nine games in a row to drop to 33-45, with
their four remaining games all also against playoff teams (in the much
tougher Western Conference). So let’s not get too cute here, Sixers.

7:00 tip from the Verizon Center. Is this the last Friday night game Doug Collins will coach for the Sixers? Bob Ford says probably, Collins’ agent says probably not. Whatever.