November 23 Philadelphia Daily News:
“When Doug Collins was named the 76ers‘ head coach in May, he knew his task was monumental.
Little did he know that the NBA schedule makers would make it even more difficult.
Tonight, the Sixers play at the Washington Wizards, the first of four games in 5 days. When those four games are completed after Saturday’s game against visiting New Jersey, the team will have played 17 games. Of those, 10 will have been played on the road, with 12 parts of back-to-back games.
“I think it’s good that we’ve played really good teams, I really do,” Collins said yesterday after practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “I think we’ve shown that we can play with most anybody. The only two games really that were not competitive were Miami and San Antonio. I think for us, it’s continuing to play with the same kind of enthusiasm and all the things that put us in a position to have a chance to win the game. And then we just have to do a better job of closing them out.”
The Sixers return tonight to the spot of the season’s most disappointing loss, when, on Nov. 2, they blew a six-point lead in the final minute, were forced to overtime on a desperation three by Cartier Martin, then lost in overtime. Wizards rookie John Wall had 29 points, 13 assists and nine steals. He is questionable tonight with a foot injury that has cost him the last four games, though Collins and the team expect him to play. A Wizards spokesman said last night that more about Wall’s availability will be known after this morning’s shootaround. Embattled guard Gilbert Arenas, who missed the first Sixers game with an ankle injury, has been filling in for Wall, averaging 18 points and 6.8 assists in the four games.
After the Wizards, the Sixers will fly to Toronto for tomorrow’s game, then fly to Miami, where they will have Thanksgiving off before playing the Heat on Friday. They’ll depart Miami after the game and host the Nets Saturday.
They will get a boost this grueling week with the return of Andre Iguodala, who has missed five of the past seven games with tendinitis in his right Achilles’ tendon. Collins has spoken of how much easier it would be to get through these tough times with a full lineup, so that he can set his rotations. Iguodala’s return seemed to do that, but word came yesterday that forward Andres Nocioni, whom Collins had penciled in for close to 20 minutes off the bench, bruised his left foot and is day-to-day.”
TALKIN BOUT PRACTICE: Sixers blog
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