October 21 Philadelphia Daily News:
“When you are coming off a 27-win season, the memories of bad hoops and long losing streaks are fresh in the mind, no matter how hard you try to erase them.
It’s a task the 76ers face this year. Even though the coach has changed, many of the players remain from that 27-55 team.
In Tuesday’s preseason loss to Cleveland in Cincinnati, much of the play resembled last season. There was an inability to get back on defense, there were players barking at each other to get to another spot on the floor, there were bad shots. One thing that was consistent was the defense – consistently bad, with more holes than a bad alibi.
“Most of the game is the mental approach and the mental aspect,” said forward Jason Kapono, who got his second straight start last night in the Sixers’ 118-91 win over the New York Knicks. “I feel a lot of our problems and issues are that we’ll play well in spurts and then, when we get hit with a punch and we lose a lead or a team scores eight or 10 points in a row, we fall back and revert to what we were last year. We kind of fall into that lull and then we have problems pushing through it. It’s important for us to maintain that focus and to bond together and actually play harder during those times.”
It hasn’t happened much during this preseason, which ended last night with a 2-5 record. In Tuesday’s game, president Rod Thorn sat three rows behind the bench and had his palms raised toward the sky more than a priest during a prayer session. His “what is going on” look was present for just about the whole second half.
With coach Doug Collins implementing new schemes, getting used to the personnel he has and trying to mold all that together before Wednesday’s season-opener against Miami, some bumps in the road are to be expected.
“Basically, we’re trying to get a development of the principles so that we can fight through the bad streaks,” Kapono said. “We don’t really have the principles and the experience to be able to fight through bad stretches yet. That’s what we’re trying to learn.”
For the past two games, they’ve had to learn it without Collins, who stayed home last night because of symptoms related to a concussion suffered in May. Associate head coach Michael Curry again was running the team and is on board with Collins about how this team needs to improve.”
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