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January 13 Camden Courier-Post:
“The Sixers went a respectable 3-5 on their recent eight-game road trip that took them across the country and back.
They came back home and beat the Washington Wizards, then had perhaps their signature win of the season against the Chicago Bulls.
The Sixers were encouraged, with a home-heavy schedule coming up against sub-.500 teams. Sixers coach Doug Collins was already starting to talk about the playoffs with more than half of the season still remaining.
And then the Sixers gave away a sure win in Detroit in the final seconds, only to follow that up with what Collins called a “flat” performance Tuesday night against Indiana.
Instead of moving into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, which the Sixers would have done had they beaten the Pacers, they fell into 10th place, passed by Milwaukee and Charlotte, who came into Wednesday night’s games tied for eighth place.
The top eight teams make the playoffs.
The Sixers play the Bucks Friday and the Bobcats Monday, both at the Wells Fargo Center.
January 13 Philadelphia Daily News:
“On his rare days away from the team, 76ers coach Doug Collins makes sure he stays completely away from basketball. He enjoys spending time with his wife, his children and grandchildren. The only basketball he permits himself to watch is a Duke game, where his son Chris is an assistant coach.
While relaxing, Collins probably won’t be found putting together a puzzle at the kitchen table, as matching puzzle pieces is his full-time job.
Collins has had to deal with injuries to the player he anointed his best before the season, Andre Iguodala. During the preseason, it was a wrist. Early in the season, an Achilles’ problem forced Iguodala to miss five games; he recently missed seven more because of the same injury.
Meanwhile, starting center Spencer Hawes hurt his lower back in the preseason and was forced to miss 16 days, stunting his progress with his new team. Andres Nocioni battled through knee, ankle and finger injuries. Jason Kapono missed time for personal reasons. And on and on and on.
Iguodala returned to the Sixers on Tuesday night against the visiting Indiana Pacers, his first game since Dec. 26. And though his return is only one game old, the concerns are fresh.
January 13 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Doug Collins had one sleepless night and plenty of questions after Tuesday’s 111-103 loss to the visiting Indiana Pacers.
He questioned his team’s effort. Others were asking why Andre Iguodala played 33 minutes in his first game back after missing the previous seven with right Achilles tendinitis.
On Wednesday, the Sixers met at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and watched film of the game. They did some light shooting but skipped contact work.
“I thought early in the game we were flat and didn’t have a great effort,” said Collins, who said the game caused him a restless night. “That is not our trademark.”
Collins said the fact that Andres Nocioni had a dislocated and fractured middle finger factored into his decision to play Iguodala, who scored just one point and was 0 for 7 from the field. Nocioni attempted to play against the Pacers but left after an ineffective 2-minute, 48-second stint.
“Hindsight is 20-20, but had Noch been healthy, maybe Dre could have gotten a few more practices under his belt before he played,” Collins said.
Iguodala had been sidelined since playing in a 95-89 win Dec. 26 in Denver. His only basketball activity before the Pacers game was Monday’s practice and Tuesday morning’s shoot-around.
TALKIN BOUT PRACTICE: Sixers blog
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