Collins laments yet another slow start in Sixers' loss

Collins laments yet another slow start in Sixers' loss

January 23, 2013, 3:45 am
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MILWAUKEE -- For the second straight season, the Sixers' marketing slogan bears the phrase "Passionate. Intense. Proud."

Those are the very same characteristics that define their head coach.

After Tuesday’s 110-102 loss to Milwaukee, a game in which his team lost the first quarter for the 31st time in 42 opportunities this season, Collins’ intensity was on display.

“It is unacceptable the way we are starting games. It is unacceptable,” he said. “We coaches have worked so hard to prepare these guys and to come out and look up and see six points on the board, 5-for-20 shooting and the other team is up 12 or 10 -- every single night, every night.”

The frustration in Collins’ voice was understandable. His team trailed, 28-18, after the opening quarter. Milwaukee had shot 57 percent, and the Sixers 30 percent. The fast-break points favored the Bucks, 9-0 (see Instant Replay).

“If we shoot 40 percent and make 8 of 20, that is three more shots,” Evan Turner, who led the Sixers with 23 points, added. “Then we are down only four points, but sometimes the ball drops that way.”

“You have to share the ball,” Collins said. “You have to help each other out. You have to talk on defense. We are not good enough to do it by ourselves. You have to do it collectively.”

“If we could just come out of the gates and have a couple shots go in and get our blood going," Nick Young said, "then I would say it is a different ball game.”

Young came off the bench to score 20 points. It was his fourth consecutive productive performance after never getting off the bench in the Sixers' win over Houston five games ago.

Young wants to play. He wants his team to win. And to do that, just like his coach, he wants them to get off to a better start.

“We have some great players on this team that we trust and they are going out there, but it is going through a rough time,” Young said. “Everyone goes through them you have to ride it together.”

The Bucks, meanwhile, are riding together in a completely different manner. They're 6-2 since interim head coach Jim Boylan took over for Scott Skiles.

Against the Sixers, it was Ersan Ilyasova's turn to lead the team. Ilyasova has had some very good games against the Sixers in his four NBA seasons but none as good as his 27-point, 16-rebound performance on Tuesday. The 6-foot-10 foward came into the game averaging 9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds this season.

“That guy is a tremendous player. He and (Brandon) Jennings were both great tonight, and Monta Ellis -- they played well,” Collins said. “But Ilyasova, I have always been a huge fan of his. He can shoot the three, he rebounds, he’s tough, he defends. Thaddeus Young struggles against this team because of Ilyasova and Larry Sanders, because they are long and rangy and they take Thad away.”

Young was 5-for-16 shooting from the floor and finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Brandon Jennings had 25 points while Monta Ellis added 18 points and 10 assists.

The Sixers did make it a four-point game midway through the fourth quarter, but because of their poor first quarter and their other Achilles’ heel -- their inability to get to the foul line -- their record dropped to 17-25.

“We had more points off them on turnovers,” Collins said. “We had 29 assists, we had one more field goal, we had one more three, basically even points in the paint, even fast break, and we had more second chance.

“They had 33 free throws to our 13. At some point in time, you had better learn how to get to the free-throw line. It is what I come and talk about every single night.”

The Sixers have three days rest before meeting the Atlantic Division-leading Knicks, who have already beaten them twice this season.