WASHINGTON - After beating up on each other for days, the 76ers were eager to face the Washington Wizards and test themselves against another NBA opponent.
They are still waiting for that test.
Facing a team that looked as if it still wanted to be locked out, the Sixers easily handled a disinterested looking Washington team, crushing the Wizards, 103-78, at the Verizon Center on Friday night in the preseason opener for both teams.
The teams will play again Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center in their final preseason game.
The Sixers used a balanced attack and crisp shooting in what amounted to little more than an evening workout in front of an announced crowd of 11,419.
It's safe to say that the Sixers received better tests when they faced each other in scrimmages during their recently completed training camp. Washington was so inexplicably bad that the Sixers were able to build a 39-point lead in the third quarter in a game that saw forward Andre Iguodala go scoreless (0 for 6).
There was little surprise with the starting lineup that Collins deployed, with a frontcourt of Elton Brand and Iguodala at the forwards, Spencer Hawes at center, and Jrue Holiday and Jodie Meeks in the backcourt. While Collins' frontcourt is set, the only real mystery - and Collins is downplaying it for the most part - is whether Meeks will begin the season at shooting guard as opposed to last year's No. 2 overall pick in the draft, Evan Turner.
Turner looked very sharp against the Wizards. Playing at the point for extended minutes, Turner scored all but two of his 16 points in the second half. Turner also finished with seven rebounds and three assists. Meeks added eight points.
Hawes finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Brand scored 11 and added five rebounds, and Holiday scored 12 points and handed out five assists before exiting. Iguodala contributed five assists.
Collins has made it a point to emphasize that two of his best players - guard Lou Williams and sixth man Thad Young - are coming off the bench. And with the way they played last night in the most crucial minutes of the first half (there was no game in this building after halftime) who was going to argue with him?
Williams finished with a team-high 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Young scored 10 points.
The Sixers were balanced and crisp against the Wizards, who looked disinterested from the start. The Sixers established a double-figure lead early in the second quarter and led by 56-35 at halftime.
Collins has said that when Hawes is right, the Sixers are at their best, and early on Hawes was guarded by the very athletic JaVale McGee and at times Ronnie Turiaf, a recent acquisition.
But Hawes, who picked up his third foul with just under five minutes left in the second quarter, was aggressive and active around the basket, just the way Collins said he wants him to be this season. He connected on five of his first six shots and had 10 points and seven rebounds by the end of the first quarter.