PHOENIX -- Every game, the coach gives his team a scouting report and from that devises a plan which, if executed, will result in a victory.
Doug Collins told his players take care of the ball, get deflections along with defensive rebounds and the Sixers first win of the season was sure to follow.
The Sixers had three turnovers and 19 deflections at halftime and they allowed the Suns just eight offensive rebounds for the game. They won 103-83 after leading by as many as 34 points in the third quarter (see game breakdown).
We make him look like a great coach, Evan Turner joked afterwards. That leads to success. It is the difference between winning and losing. The other day, as far as the rebounding, Portland had like 19 more shots than us and we lost by four. We know how key that is and we have to get it together and play as a unit.
Turner turned in a 12-point, seven-rebound performance. The bench as a whole scored 48 points.
The Sixers led 48-34 at the break. With 5:48 to go in the third quarter, the Suns scored their first basket of the second half to snap a 19-0 Sixers run.
The Sixers defense was a work of art. They were active, had hands in the passing lanes and they were crushing the competitive spirit of the home team.
Sometimes when teams come out of the locker room they use those first four or five minutes to get themselves ready to go, Collins said. We wanted to capitalize tonight and get out there and discourage them.
During that impressive run, Spencer Hawes got a steal in the Suns frontcourt. He controlled the deflection and went 65 feet for the one-handed slam. It was two of his nine points that accompanied 11 rebounds. However, the entertainment Hawes brought to his teammates was actually greater than the bucket as Andre Iguodala called it comic relief.
That was one of those rare occurrences, Hawes said. As a big man you dont get a whole lot of those. But it was fun and I was glad to see I could entertain my teammates.
Iguodala, along with Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young, led the team in scoring with 15 points. Reserve Ronnie Price had the honors for the Suns with 16.
Having a healthy cushion in terms of the lead allowed Collins to dial back on starters minutes, specifically for Hawes, Iguodala and Elton Brand, none of whom played more than 26 after heavy lifting in Portland on Monday.
It was a welcomed rest, right?
I dont know. I get bored sitting on the bench, Iguodala said. It was good to get a win and it was good for Nik (Vucevic) to get some added minutes and then get tired, see what a second wind is like and how long it takes to recover. And those other guys had a chance to get some reps up and get some confidence, which is always good.
Vucevic made his NBA debut on Wednesday. He scored six points to go along with six rebounds and looked smooth in the process.
There was one scary moment with 3:06 to play in the game where Jrue Holiday went up for an offensive rebound and came down awkwardly, banging his right knee on the ground. At the time the Sixers were ahead, 98-75.
He just banged his knee falling on the floor, Collins said. I am shooting myself, saying why is he out there? I just wanted to give Lou (Williams) a little bit of a break so he could finish the game. Hes laying there and I am ready to shoot myself, but he is OK.
Holiday backed up Collins words, saying he felt fine and the knee just cushioned his fall.
The Sixers will practice Thursday in Phoenix before flying to Utah for a Friday date with the Jazz.
E-mail Dei Lynam at email@example.com.