Before the Wizards dismantled the Sixers 97-76 on Friday night, Doug Collins temporarily took off his head coach hat, replaced it with his analyst hat, and handicapped this current version of the Washington Wizards (Video courtesy of TAI’s Adam McGinnis):
Collins knows these Wizards are different, physical, hard-working, and the coach warned his team to be prepared for such. The Sixers responded by not showing up to play at all. Jrue Holiday took a pass from Andre Iguodala and scored on a layup to give the Sixers at 15-14 lead with 2:56 left in the first quarter, and that was the last lead Philadelphia would see. The Wizards went on a 9-0 run, led 23-15 after one quarter, 35-19 at the 8:10 mark of the second quarter, and 55-36 at halftime.
After the game, John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer asked Collins if he thought his team could turn the game around after intermission. The coach thought about it for half a second and succinctly responded with a one word: ”No.”
Going into the game, and since Collins was named head coach prior to the 2010-11 season, the Sixers had won five of seven games against the Wizards. The Wizards won the first two in overtime, by one and two points respectively, and then Philadelphia won the next five by an average of 17 points (they also dominated Washington in two preseason games after the lockout). Their last victory over the Wizards resulted in the firing of Flip Saunders and promotion of Randy Wittman, on an interim basis. The Sixers haven’t made many roster changes since, so perhaps a bit of complacency set in, or maybe they simply underestimated how much better this Wizards team could play without Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee and Nick Young.
Whatever it was, it was odd being in that Sixers locker room and hearing them talk about the Wizards like they were a respected playoff team. This version of “The Sixers Said What?” features Doug Collins, Elton Brand, Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala: