Sixers' losing ways bringing pain to Collins

Sixers' losing ways bringing pain to Collins
January 17, 2013, 1:40 am
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Wednesday was a day to talk about coaches in Philadelphia. The discussion was touched on the new, the old and the profession at large.
The Eagles search for Andy Reids successor ended while the Sixers were practicing one day after their record dropped to 16-23 with a disappointing 111-99 loss to the Hornets.
Kellys hiring blew Twitter up and Doug Collins could not have been happier for the distraction.
I love watching his teams play, Collins said. Its good. The Eagles are in the news. The Flyers are getting set to play. The Phillies are getting set to start spring training. I am being funny, as you know I can be.
Collins was forced to jokes to bring up some amusement because having a team that is seven games under .500 is clearly no laughing matter. It is no fun trying to explain why an NBA roster, even minus Andrew Bynum, has not managed two straight wins since Nov. 30, 2012.
While the Sixers have been unable to put two wins together for a long stretch, Collins explained that the trouble to do so begins from the opening tip.
I have always been a huge first quarter guy. To me, you set the tone of the game how you play the first quarter, he said.
We are 9-1 this year when we win the first quarter. We have lost 28 first quarters and we are 6-22. Is that our guys not carrying out the game plan and what we are trying to get started? Understanding how important it is that you cant let a team score 10 of their first 12 possessions, now seeing a big basket. Like Anthony Davis having two dunks and now those jump shots look easy to make. That is the essence of this game.
Just to reiterate: the Sixers have played 39 games this and only 10 times they have put more points on the scoreboard than their opponent in the first 12 minutes. Thats close to 75 percent of the season that they have been forced to come from behind.
Obviously, I have not done a good job getting these guys prepared to start games, Collins said. I mean, to win 10 first quarters out of 38 games. We have not done well with that.
On the flip side, if we take a lead into the fourth quarter, we have not lost. But when we trail, I think we are 1-22. So we have not shown resiliency to fight back.
It is a deadly combination. The Sixers fall behind early and are incapable of coming from behind late. How is a team expected to compile wins when those two flaws exist?
The personnel is locked in at this point in the season unless the team makes a drastic move. The Sixers lone All-Star is sidelined for at least another month with a questionable timetable.
With everything laid out in front of them, the Sixers know the only thing that can change their plight is turning their hard work into winning.
Its not like we dont do our homework and try to think of all the different options, Collins said. We do that. I think our coaches work very, very hard. I think we try to bring out the best in our guys. We treat our guys with incredible respect and dignity on a daily basis the way we coach them.
I feel good about all those things. It is incredibly disappointing that we have not been able to find any kind of consistency. Night in and night out, even if you get beat doing the right things being in the right spots, and consistently we have not done that.
The Sixers know things have only been harder with Bynum still rehabbing his ailing knees.
That one piece we were hoping would mask some weaknesses, Collins said of Bynum. But I cant dwell on that because that sounds whiney and I am not a whiner. You get out, you play and you compete and you try to win games.
Its not like Collins hasnt weathered tough stretches as head coach the Sixers during each of the past three years. There was the 3-13 start in his initial season in 2010-11. There was the 15-22 record to end last year after a surprising 20-9 start. Now, he is staring at another rough patch.
Loving this city and organization like I do makes it extra painful for me when I dont get the job done, Collins said. No one wants to do the job in a more professional or better way than me with dignity and class. And when you are not winning and things are in a tough spot, it makes it doubly hard when you have a 40-year history.
I came here to bring winning and we did that for the first two years and we are not doing that right now. That hurts me a lot.
E-mail Dei Lynam at dlynam@comcastsportsnet.com.