Evan Turner was ineffective for much of last night's game. Loose with the basketball, slow on the inbounds, and short on jumpers, the Celtics had shut him down with Avery Bradley for some of the game, and the slap-happy veteran hands of Ray Allen the rest. ET took an ugly stat line into the final few minutes in Boston. But during those last three minutes, Evan played beautiful basketball.
He drove on Paul Pierce with the shot clock expiring, momentarily lost control after Allen got a piece of it, spun himself around, and flung up a prayer only to see it catch iron and drop in for two points and the lead. Boston (and Chris Webber) wanted a walk, but they wouldn't get it.
The next possession, Evan got a huge block on a Rajon Rondo offensive rebound putback. Then, with the Sixers down 1 with 0:43 seconds to play, this happened.
The first move past Rondo, the acrobatic body control to avoid Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and the last minute adjustment to put some major english on that ball to kiss off the glass at a heavenly angle. Mike Prada called it "a career-altering shot". Matt Moore of CBS channeled Christopher Nolan and said "The Sixers needed a hero. They got the Villain." And Doc Rivers, sneering, deemed it "a miraculous shot." Evan would go on to make two huge, COLD. BLOODED. free throws and seal the game for the Sixers. Though this certainly wasn't his best game, it was absolutely one of his best finishes.
Whatever you think of the chances of the Sixers winning this series or any after it, the fact that the slow burn of Evan's career trajectory is coming on fast is great news for Sixers fans. It's not all the time yet, but just like the occasional Y2J ticking clock promos in the Fall of 1999, it's coming. And when it gets here, we're talking about something big.