Collins: 76ers need leaders
In the final minutes of Wednesday's lopsided loss to the Boston Celtics, Doug Collins called to Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala - starters he rested all game - and had them sit on either side of him.
In a moment, there were words from Collins and nods from Brand and Iguodala.
Afterward, Collins explained the conversation: "I told them I need them to be leaders, and as we're going through this period of time, they have to really put their arms around these guys and continue to help them. We have to be positive, but at the same time expect to be better and demand to play better."
In the 93-65 loss to the Celtics, the Sixers started point guard Jrue Holiday, shooting guard Jodie Meeks, small forward Thaddeus Young, power forward Trent Plaisted, and center Spencer Hawes. The eldest of that group, the 24-year-old Plaisted, has never played in a regular-season NBA game and is unlikely to make the team's roster.
Boston started Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Shaquille O'Neal.
"I sort of expected this," Collins said immediately afterward. "But it sure doesn't mean that when you're sitting on that bench and looking at the score, you don't think you're breaking all sorts of records."
On Thursday, the 76ers took their first day off since beginning training camp on Sept. 28; they will practice Friday at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine before continuing their preseason schedule on Saturday against the New Jersey Nets at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
On Wednesday night, the Sixers committed 21 turnovers - 18 in the first half - and looked as if they were running their offense in a box: No one could find open space.
"Right now, we're just struggling with any kind of offensive identity," Collins said. "We're putting Jrue in a position where he's having to dribble too much. The great thing for me, as painful as it is to sit through a game like this, you just keeping learning more and more and more about who you have and what you've got to do."
In and out. Big man Tony Battie (right-knee inflammation), forward Andres Nocioni (left-ankle sprain), and guard James Florence (hamstring) did not play in Tuesday's or Wednesday's preseason game. . . . Nocioni is expected to scrimmage on Friday and be eligible for Saturday's game.
Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or firstname.lastname@example.org.