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76ers notebook

Williams needs to start scoring

By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / May 17, 2012
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PHILADELPHIA - When Doc Rivers was asked before Game 1 of the series what Sixer he would not want to have the ball in a clutch situation, he didn’t hesitate.

“Oh, Lou Williams,’’ said the Celtics coach.

But Williams, the first player since Dell Curry in 1993-94 to lead his team in scoring without making a single start, has grown cold in the second round. He scored 9 points in Game 1, and followed that up with 8 points in 39 minutes in Game 2. He had 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting in 27 minutes and 38 seconds in a 107-91 loss to the Celtics Wednesday.

Asked about the extended minutes in Game 2 - he averaged 26 minutes and 14.9 points per game this season - Williams said, “I have energy. I’m in good shape. I’m not making shots anyway.’’

The Sixers seemed confident that he would turn that around.

“Shooters go through those little lulls,’’ said Williams, who finished second to Oklahoma City’s James Harden in voting for the NBA’s Sixth Man Award. “I go through stretches where I make a lot of shots, then I have a few minutes where I’m not making shots.

“Hopefully, every time I step on the court, I feel like that’s going to be the game I’ll break loose and have a big game.’’

In those situations when the shots aren’t falling, Williams said, he doesn’t want to change what he has been doing. He just wants to be aggressive.

“Once you start getting outside of the box, trying to do things that’s not normal for you, you have more struggles than what you’re dealing with now,’’ Williams said.

“I’ve found other ways to impact the game, trying to rebound, get other guys involved, recognizing when a double-team is coming, just trying to make the best plays that I can.’’

Part of that has been the defense of a very good opponent. Williams said the Celtics have been playing him “honest’’ to this point in the series.

“He’s really streaky,’’ said Sixers coach Doug Collins. “The one thing about Lou, he knows he’s got a green light. When he’s got a shot, we want him to take it.

“From a coaching standpoint, that’s one thing I’ve always tried to ingrain in our players: I don’t care how many shots you miss, you’ve got to take the next one.

“The key for us is getting Lou good shots. They’re locked into him.’’

Rough spots

The Sixers finally got some significant production from Thaddeus Young, who scored a team-high 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting in Game 3. He hadn’t scored more than 8 points in his previous seven games. “When you’re having a good, solid game, you definitely want to be on top, but it doesn’t always happen that way,’’ Young said. “Sometimes you just have to take it and go with it and come back next game, and that’s what we’re going to do. They gave us a good shot tonight, and we have to answer back.’’ . . . The home loss was the first for the Sixers in the postseason . . . Before the game, Collins put an emphasis on having fewer than 10 turnovers. The Sixers had nine turnovers, about their only positive in Game 3 . . . The 76ers had not allowed more than 38 points in the paint in eight postseason games before allowing 50 Wednesday. The Sixers were second in the NBA in the regular season (36.4 per game). Asked about his team placing a premium on protecting the paint, Collins said simply, “Not tonight.’’

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.

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