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April 5, 2014

A Second Coming: Carter-Williams returns to Boston an improved player

BOSTON — Two days after a triumphant Boston homecoming, the streak began.

Loss after loss after loss piled up for Michael Carter-Williams and the Philadelphia 76ers. It was unlike anything Carter-Williams, the Sixers rookie point guard from Hamilton, had ever experienced in his basketball career.

The skid ballooned to an NBA record-tying 26 straight losses when the Houston Rockets defeated the Sixers by 22 points last Thursday. Yet as difficult as it was, it brought something out in Carter-Williams that hadn’t yet been seen during his brief time in the pros.

Even though Carter-Williams has been a statistical front-runner in the rookie class, it took a nearly two-month losing streak to bring out the true leader in him.

“It was after we lost to Houston and I just felt like as a point guard and one of the leaders, I should step up and say something after the game. I just said we need to come out as a team every game and go out swinging,” said Carter-Williams, who scored 24 points and added 6 rebounds and 6 assists in a 111-102 win over the Celtics last night at TD Garden, coming in his second professional trip to Boston.

“Maybe I should have said it earlier. At that time, the team responded well and we got the win in the next game.”

Two days after Carter-Williams addressed his teammates in the locker room, the Sixers pounded the Detroit Pistons to avoid establishing a new all-time NBA mark for consecutive losses.

In terms of stress and pressure, Carter-Williams had a tougher time playing in Boston in January.

The TD Garden then (just as it was last night) was packed with friends and family, and there were a smattering of Carter-Williams jerseys scattered throughout the arena. Carter-Williams put extra pressure on himself to perform in that contest two-and-a-half months ago and finished with 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting, seven assists and five rebounds. Philadelphia walked away with a one-point win on Evan Turner’s last second drive.

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