December 1 Philadelphia Daily News:
“IN THE Three Dog Night song, one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do and two can be as bad as one.
Not to Doug Collins. Two is one of the best numbers he’s seen all of this short season.
For the first time under Collins’ tutelage, the Sixers have won consecutive games, last night downing the Portland Trail Blazers at the Wells Fargo Center, 88-79.
On a night when the home team made just 19 of 49 shots in the final three quarters, Andre Iguodala was limited to just four shots and rookie Evan Turner again struggled with just one point, the team found a way to win because of its stubbornness on the defensive end.
Portland was able to make just four of 20 shots from the floor in an 11-point fourth quarter as the Sixers won for the first time this season by single digits.
“Our defense in the fourth quarter, once again, was spectacular,” Collins said. “We had big contributions from our big guys. Mo [Speights], Spencer [Hawes], Tony [Battie]. They shot 10 of 17 and had 12 rebounds.”
It was an inside effort that was sorely needed, especially after Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge went off for 18 points in the first half.
Collins told the media, and surely his players, before the game that Portland was fanatical on the offensive boards and that guard Wes Matthews was the unknown factor for the visitors. Again, Collins proved prophetic as the Blazers gobbled 15 offensive boards and won the backboard battle by 45-40. Matthews sliced to a game-high 26 points, including 16 in the second half.
But he was the only weapon the Blazers could unload in the final 24 minutes as Iguodala did a great job of clamping down Brandon Roy, limiting the 19-point-a-game guard to just two in the second half.
“Andre Iguodala was spectacular . . . even though he did not score that many points,” Collins said. “I am so pleased with the way our guys are playing defense. They were terrific.”
TALKIN BOUT PRACTICE: Sixers blog
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