For the first 51 minutes of Boston's game against the Clippers last night, Evan Turner wasn't having the best scoring night. He was just 3/10 from the field, totaling 7 points. But facing a two-point deficit with two minutes left, Turner put the Celtics on his back.
The first play involves two parts. First, Turner snakes his way though the pick & roll and dishes it back to Jared Sullinger. This is important because he forces the Clippers to switch, leaving him matched up with DeAndre Jordan.
Taking a page from Isaiah Thomas' book, Turner attacks Jordan off the dribble. Turner is the best non-Isaiah player on the team at creating his own shot, and this is a good example. He creates space, stutters to throw off Jordan's timing, then buries the shot over him.
After a turnover at the other end, the Celtics had a chance to take the lead for the first time in OT. Once again, they looked to Evan Turner.
Turner sprints to receive the ball and Thomas hits him in stride. Turner has just enough space on the defender to turn the corner towards the basket. He's got an open lane to the hoop, but doesn't throw up a layup right away. Turner has the presence of mind to stop and avoid a panicked shot. He gives a little upfake and patiently waits for an opening. Mbah a Moute bites and Turner does a great job to hit the shot after contact. After making the free throw, the Celtics now held a three-point lead.
Chris Paul sliced through the Celtics' defense to answer on the next possession. Boston needed a score, so it was back to the hot hand.
Turner gets the matchup against Jamal Crawford in the post. Boston clears out to leave Turner by himself on the right side of the court. Turner starts backing Crawford down, then throws a fake and spins out for the turnaround shot. He knocks down the tough fadeaway to put the Celtics back up three. The Clippers wouldn't score again, and Boston came away with the huge win.
Fresh off his versatile display of skill in overtime, Turner had this to say in post-game.
Evan Turner: "We’re going to finish a lot better and stronger. If we defend homecourt we could be the one or two team in the East."— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) February 11, 2016
After pulling out a game like this, that looks like more than just the usual Evan Turner bravado. The Clippers are a dangerous team even without Blake Griffin. Considering the injury and foul issues that Boston was dealing with, that's an impressive win. Heading into the all star break, the Celtics are looming as a real threat in the East.