Do You Want Doug Collins Back? Because the Sixers Reportedly Do Not

Do You Want Doug Collins Back? Because the Sixers Reportedly Do Not

The big news story of the day comes to us from the
Philadelphia Inquirer, where Bob Ford reports that the 76ers organization hopes
Doug Collins will step down at season’s end according to league sources. The
head coach has one year remaining on his contract, but another extension is not
in the works.

Ford outlines a number of possibilities, from Collins
walking away on his own terms, to his transitioning to a front office role so he
can collect the final $4.5 million left on the final year of his deal. However,
there is also some belief pride could interfere, and Collins would come back
even as a lame duck to fight the stigma that he’s not a “long-term coach.”

One thing it seems the Sixers are not willing to do is fire
Collins, with Ford citing that as being a bad move from a public-relations
standpoint.

The organization will have a huge
season-ticket renewal problem this offseason, and the last thing it needs is
engaging in a popularity contest with Collins. Selling tickets for next season
will be difficult enough.

"They really want to avoid a
backlash if the fans sided with Doug," the first NBA source said.
"They will be happy if Doug makes the call and it works out that he
leaves."

There is no question Collins is a likeable figure, both as a
former player in Philly, and because of the energy, passion, and forthright
demeanor he’s brought to the position. I doubt there are many people here
who wanted to see him flame out quickly.

But then if reports are true, it also seems probable Sixers
brass might be overestimating just how much loyalty the fan base feels toward
Collins at this point. The product on the court is the real issue first and
foremost, and while how much of the responsibility for this mess can truthfully
be laid at Doug’s feet is debatable – as a head coach anyway – there is some
question as to whether he brings the right attitude to the situation, much less has
the longevity to see this rebuilding through.

And actually there has been plenty of disagreement about the
way Collins goes about his job. Young players such as Arnett
Moultrie this season, or Evan Turner and Nik Vucevic in the past, have wound up
in Doug’s doghouse for largely unknown reasons while observers clamored for those
kids to get more minutes. There is even a question of to what degree Collins’ system works, as his team often settles for low percentage shots.

Plus, Collins isn’t exactly innocent in the construction of
this current fiasco, either. When Andrew Bynum was acquired there was no
general manager in place, which would seem to indicate the head coach had a lot of say in the
matter, as he likely did in several more unpopular front-office-type decisions. Tony
DiLeo has since taken over as GM, but who knows how much influence Doug still wields.

I’m not necessarily anti-Doug Collins myself, if for no
other reason than it has been painful to watch the 76ers go through coach after
coach through the years, sometimes a change being made a season’s time or less. It’s been a
while since any decision that swift has been handed down, but the organization could benefit from some stability on the bench.

Even if we’re just being realistic about the situation and
not taking sides, the Sixers as a franchise are in no-man’s land right now.
Nobody is sure where the team is going to go from here, or how long it’s going
to take to build something that resembles a contender. What we do know is it will
take long enough that Collins wouldn't be here to see it regardless.

Should the head coach be sent packing? Does he deserve better? Is
that really going to be what causes the dozen or so of you who have season
ticket plans not to renew? Because even as a Doug Collins supporter of sorts, I would
have a hard time mustering any outrage for a change.

>> 76ers hope Doug Collins steps away, sources say [Inq]

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Sixers-Warriors 5 things: At home, can Sixers hang with NBA's best again?

Sixers-Warriors 5 things: At home, can Sixers hang with NBA's best again?

The Sixers (22-36) host the NBA-best Golden State Warriors (49-9) at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Bummer at the buzzer
Apparently one good last-second shot deserves another.

The Sixers stormed back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks on Saturday. Jahlil Okafor capped off his monster night with what appeared to be the game-winner at the time when he scored in the lane with nine seconds remaining.

That was until Carmelo Anthony drained a clutch jumper over Robert Covington with 0.3 ticks left on the clock to give the Knicks a 110-109 victory. Call it payback for T.J. McConnell's buzzer-beater against New York last month.

While the Sixers didn't get the win, they had to be pleased with some of the efforts they received on the second night of a back-to-back set. 

Okafor finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Covington had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Dario Saric added 19 points and 15 boards.

2. So much splashing
The Sixers will need those type of performances and then some if they hope to keep up with this potent Warriors team.

In case you've been lost at sea since the summer, former league MVP Kevin Durant bolted Oklahoma City for Golden State in free agency to turn the "Splash Brothers" of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson into an entire splash family.

Already dominant offensively, the Warriors have been even better this season with Durant. They rank No. 1 in a slew of offensive categories, including points per game (118.2), field goal percentage (50.0), assists per game (31.0), fastbreak points per game (23.5), offensive rating (114.1) and true shooting percentage (60.4).

If that weren't enough, Durant's length has also impacted the Warriors' defense too. They are first in the league in steals (9.6), blocks (6.7) and points off turnovers (19.2) per game.

Simply put, the Warriors are scary good. 

3. The wild card
Every family has that one person that you're just not sure about at times. They can make gatherings the best night ever or a downright miserable experience.

Enter Draymond Green. 

Green has been on the miserable side of the Warriors' gatherings lately. He shot 1 of 10 for five points and was benched for long stretches in Golden State's win over Brooklyn on Saturday. In the game prior to that against the L.A. Clippers, he picked up a technical foul, trash talked Paul Pierce and went to his preferred kick move on Blake Griffin.

Overall, Green has been his usual solid self on the court. He's averaging 10.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists a night while providing lockdown defense.

The Sixers are fully aware of Green's versatility. The veteran forward averaged a triple-double against them in the two meetings last season with 11.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists.

It will be interesting to see Green lock horns all game with the surging Saric.

4. Injuries
Joel Embiid (knee), Tiago Splitter (calf), Ben Simmons (foot) Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

The Warriors have no players listed on the injury report.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost six straight games to the Warriors.

• With their 112-95 win over the Nets on Saturday, the Warriors became the first team to clinch a playoff berth. It marked the earliest a team has clinched a postseason spot since the 1985-86 Boston Celtics.

• Covington is averaging 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in February.

• Thompson averaged 36.0 points on 54.7 percent shooting from the field and 45.8 percent from three-point range against the Sixers last season.

Brandon Manning suspended 2 games for hit on Penguins' Jake Guentzel

Brandon Manning suspended 2 games for hit on Penguins' Jake Guentzel

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning was suspended two games for his illegal hit to Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel during Saturday's 4-2 loss in the Stadium Series game at Heinz Field.
 
Manning's shoulder made contact with Guentzel's head.
 
Manning wasn't surprised and even admitted to reporters that he fully expected "one or two" games because he hit a player who didn't have control of the puck yet.
 
Strangely, there was no penalty on the play for interference, yet the NHL's explanation on Monday afternoon specifically cited "interference" as the reason for the suspension.
 
This is Manning's first NHL suspension.
 
The hearing was conducted on the phone Monday with Stephane Quintal, senior vice-president of NHL Player Safety. Manning will forfeit $10,833.34 in salary.
 
"It was late," Manning said of the hit. "He didn't touch the puck after it hit his skate, which I thought he was going to do. They do their whole breakdown by time frame."
 
Manning said he caught Guentzel's shoulder first, then his head "on the follow through" because Guentzel is shorter than him. The 6-foot-1 Manning has two inches on Guentzel.
 
Guentzel, who had two assists in the game, was not injured.
 
"Looking at it, [the hit] is a little late," Manning admitted. "I thought he was going to touch the puck. Usually, when a puck hits your skate, you pick it up, and he kinda left it. ... The hard part is, there was no penalty called on it."
 
Manning said he had to make a hit or face an odd-man rush.
 
"There were two players there and if I don't play my guy there, it’s a 3-on-1 the other way," he said. "You're giving up scoring chances. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt. He finished the game and that's always the good thing."
 
Mark Streit, sitting on the bench at the time, said he saw the hit and was shocked at the suspension.
 
"It was a great hit," Streit said. "You look at the replay and everything looks different. You can slow down every hit and talk about it. I guess it was a little late ..."
 
Manning's suspension likely means Michael Del Zotto will play against Colorado on Tuesday.
 
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Manning has been a "solid piece" for the club this season.
 
"He brings that physical edge, he's been reliable, and he's been a staple for our lineup," Hakstol said. "That's a hole we'll have to fill over next couple of games here."
 
Manning will also miss Thursday's game against Florida.