Friday, April 13, 2012

These Sixers don't deserve Collins

PHILADELPHIA (The Phanatic Magazine) - The Sixers just suffered the latest in a series of gut-wrenching losses and Doug Collins was at the podium trying to explain to the notoriously tough Philadelphia media why his team is imploding.

"Disappointed to say the least," Collins said after his team laid a 95-89 egg against lowly New Jersey. "I didn't see that coming. I can't figure out why we are playing the way we are at home."

That, of course is a crock.

Few know the game as well as Collins and he knows better that anyone that this team has checked out on him. The coach was just trying to protect a group of undeserving players that don't have his back.

The Sixers didn't play with any effort or enthusiasm against a Nets team that's pretty bad when Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace and Jordan Farmar are dressed. None of those key contributors were in uniform on Friday and Deron Williams had a bad night yet Philadelphia still couldn't stop a team whose most dangerous weapons were Gerald Green, who was in the D-League at the All-Star break, and rookie MarShon Brooks.

"Gerald Green was terrific tonight, MarShon Brooks they hit us with 45. Can't figure out why we are playing like this," the coach said.

The Sixers were beaten to every loose ball and lost virtually every hustle play. The same thing happened in losses to lowly Washington and Toronto earlier this month and Philadelphia now finds itself up by just two games on Milwaukee for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with six of its final seven contests on the road.

"We are fighting for our lives," Collins said. "That's a huge loss."

A few weeks ago I wrote a column about Collins losing the team, one that created quite a stir. I was booked on WIP in Philly and radio stations in D.C., Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles to discuss the issue.

Most took it the wrong way like I was blaming Collins for being too hard on today's player. In truth I was blaming the athletes for tuning out a guy that works tirelessly to make them better basketball players.

Despite suffering through 2 1/2 hours of some of the most wretched basketball you will ever see, Collins still took the time to introduce a Make-a-Wish girl named Sarah, who's wish was to meet the coach.

Collins asked for prayers and choked back tears. For a second, so did I and a number of other media members.

I thought to myself that Michael Preston, the Sixers P.R. Director, should have brought that entire immature, dysfunctional locker room in to watch that moment, to see a very sick girl, fighting for life meeting a man she admires.

The same man they can't stand because he asks them to play the game of basketball the right way.

Collins confirmed before the game that he would be returning to television as a commentator for the Olympics on NBC over the summer and I have a hunch that he will walk away from this team after the season and make a return to TV on a full-time basis.

Or at least that's my hope.

Because these Sixers don't deserve Doug Collins.
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