Game 2 of this grueling five-game road stretch is tonight as the Sixers, 107-103 losers at Portland on opening night Monday, look to rebound against the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix is also 0-1 as they lost, 84-83, to the visiting New Orleans Hornets on Monday.
Asked if the low score posted by the Suns in that loss was an aberration or if the Suns are starting to slow down with veterans Steve Nash and Grant Hill still getting big minutes.
"No, New Orleans set the tempo, used a lot of the clock, ground it down, took a lot of shots late in the clock to limit as much transition as (Phoenix) could get," Collins said. "We don't play that way. The Suns are going to score. So what we're going to have to do is make them shoot a lower percentage, like the other night. Portland scored 107 points but we held them to 41 percent shooting. I don't look at the 107, I look at the 41 percent shooting. The bigger scores were (Portland's) 11 steals for 28 points, 17 offensive rebounds. Those two areas we have to clean up. This is going to be a game where we're going to push and attack."
In the season opener Collins used just eight players, with Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams and Evan Turner the only three to get the call off the bench. That most likely will change tonight, Collins said. Look for rookie Nikola Vucevic to see his first minutes in the NBA.
"The other night I just couldn't get Nik in the game. I'll get him in the game tonight. I want to use 10, nine for sure. I've got five perimeters and four bigs and then Tony Battie would be a situational big."
Collins didn't mention Marreese Speights, which is only surprising in that you would think that he would get some minutes in an up-and-down like tonight should be. Maybe not, though. Maybe there are other plans for Speights.