Something pretty obvious occurred to me last night as I watched the Sixers lay their second absolute smackdown in as many nights: Doug Collins can coach.

As in, as of this moment, with Phil Jackson at least temporarily retired, better than anyone in the NBA.  After Saturday’s 97-62 thumping, Collins has, in a season and change at the Sixers helm, compiled a 46-43 record — 43-30 in the last 73 games.  With all due respect to Greg Popovich, is there anyone in the Association who has done more with less over the last 14 months?

Collins has: (1) Developed Jrue Holiday into a budding All-Star; (2) Rejuvenated Elton Brand; (3) Turned Spencer Hawes into a viable NBA center; (4) Unleashed Thaddeus Young on the world; (5) Helped turn Andre Iguodala from a guy who can’t hit jumpers but takes too many of them into a guy who still can’t hit them but shoots them less.

More importantly, he’s turned the Sixers into the rarest of units in the modern NBA: a team.

The 7-6, sitting atop the Atlantic at 5-2 (and leading the NBA with a ludicrous 15.3 point scoring differential) are most definitely for real. Doug Collins is why.

Sixer of the Game

Jrue Holiday led a balanced attack, dropping 14 points to go with 6 assists. Iguodala, Thad Young, and Vucevic could easily have taken the honors here, but I think I just enjoy typing J-r-u-e.

The Good

  • The suffocating D: The Sixers held the Raptors to 31.8 percent shooting (27-85), 28 second half points, forced 17 turnovers, and incredibly didn’t allow 20 points in a single period. I’ve never seen that happen.
  • With Toronto surging and the 7-6 lead trimmed to 3 in the early part of the third, Collins called a timeout to refocus his bunch. The Sixers promptly scored the next 11 points en route to a 30-8 run.
  • Also in the Doug Collins is brilliant department: The 7-6 are an incredibly disciplined team. As Mark Zumoff incredulously pointed out during the broadcast, the Sixers had committed only two personal fouls by the middle part of the third quarter — both by Jrue Holiday.
  • Evan Turner going baseline and finishing with two hands for the 71-46 lead.
  • Basically everything Thad Young did in the third. He fed Turner for the above mentioned dunk after a grabbing a steal, and, in the previous possession, procured another turnover, took it coast to coast and finished left handed. He scored 9 points and tallied a pair of blocks as the Sixers opened up a 24-point lead by period’s end.

Vucevic scoring 9 points to go with 11 board and looking like a contributor.

The Bad

Iguodala’s 2 for 10 first half and generally slipshod shooting/shot selection.

The Ugly

Spencer Hawe’s back. The big fella played only 17 minutes after tweaking it on a third period turnaround. Fingers crossed he’s okay.

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