76ers 101, Pacers 75
Doug Collins saw the 76ers earn their first victory of the season on his back, not the bench.
He was in the locker room, resting because of dizzy spells related to vertigo. Collins had nothing to worry about but his health by the time Philadelphia flattened the Indiana Pacers 101-75 on Wednesday night.
Collins wasn't around to celebrate his first win since he was hired in May, leaving the bench at halftime when he felt ill and turning over the clipboard to associate head coach Michael Curry.
Collins missed two preseason games because of symptoms related to a concussion he sustained on Memorial Day, then had neurological testing and treatment for what was diagnosed as vertigo.
''I think when you crack your head, you don't understand all the dynamics,'' Collins said. ''This summer, I was able to rest a lot and everything. What happens (now), when you get up and down, it triggers it.''
Collins said he felt OK and would have team doctors better monitor his medication. Collins, who returned to the bench this season after a stint at TNT, said he was working with doctors to figure out the best way to coach with his condition.
''These football players now, I understand what they deal with,'' Collins said. ''But it's all good.''
He left with the Sixers holding a 26-point lead. Collins complained of dizziness at halftime and grabbed Curry's arm to keep his balance. Collins was ordered on his back on the trainer's table and hated missing out on the end of the best all-around game the Sixers played this season. The starters scored, they got to the free-throw line, and didn't squander a big lead.
''When you've got a lead like that, the clock doesn't move fast enough,'' Collins said.
Collins fainted in a coffee shop on Memorial Day in Phoenix and broke three ribs. He also sustained a concussion when his head hit the concrete floor. He fainted after feeling lightheaded caused by low blood pressure.
Collins also revealed that Curry's wife had major surgery on Tuesday. He asked for everyone to keep Curry's wife in their prayers, but did not disclose what was wrong.
It was all good news on the court. One night after a crushing overtime loss at Washington, Philadelphia dominated early and blew the game open late for its first win in five games.
Curry took over at the break and watched the Pacers cut into the lead before Williams sank a 3-pointer right before the horn to push the lead back to 20 after three quarters.
All the necessary ingredients that the Sixers missed the first four games all came together in the first quarter. They got scoring from their starters - Brand, Holiday and Spencer Hawes combined for 22 points. They raced out to a fast start and led by 15 points. And they got to the free throw line.
The Sixers had difficulty just getting to the line in the first four games. Collins complained before tip that Sixers starters averaged only nine free throws a game. Amazingly, Hawes hadn't attempted one all season. Holiday went to the line only four times and Jason Kapono, who started two games, only once all season.
Hawes got there in the first quarter, missing both attempts. Led by Brand, the Sixers shot from the line 11 times in the quarter. They made 21 of 25 overall.
With another sparse crowd chanting ''Let's go, Lou!'' for some rare noise, Williams hit a step-back jumper to make it 31-16 to end the first. The 5,000 fans or so who showed up gave the Sixers a standing ovation.
They had more reason to cheer later for Brand. Considered a huge free-agent bust after two disappointing seasons in Philadelphia, Brand reported to training camp lean, in shape and insistent he could still be a 20-10 player. He was at 16.3 and 9.0 rebounds entering the game and was strong from all around the basket against the Pacers.
''It's nothing, I'm ready to go out there and contribute,'' Brand said.
Collins said the Sixers were winless, not hopeless. He might yet be right.
Darren Collison led the Pacers with 11 points. Danny Granger, averaging 27.0 points, was 2 for 14 and scored only seven. Granger made his only 3-pointer during a 13-2 run in the third that briefly rattled the Sixers.
Brand made a flurry of 6- to 10-footers in the fourth to push back the Pacers and make this one a rout.
''Sometimes you're the pounder, sometimes you're the poundee,'' Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. ''We were the poundee tonight.''
The Pacers couldn't repeat the feat of a 13-point win over the Sixers on Saturday.
''It was pathetic tonight,'' Pacers center Roy Hibbert said. ''It was really pathetic.''
Notes: O'Brien coached the Sixers in the 2004-05 season and led them to the playoffs. He said he knew in January of that year he would only last the season, the first of a multiyear deal, because of disagreements with management. ... Marreese Speights grabbed 11 rebounds off the bench to give the Sixers a 45-35 edge.