NEW YORK - Concealing emotion would have been useless.
At the final buzzer of Sunday afternoon's 106-96 victory over the New York Knicks, 76ers coach Doug Collins smiled broadly before walking to shake the hand of Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni.
For the Sixers this season, wins have been as slippery as a sweaty basketball, repeatedly passing through their hands.
So when his team finally produced a winning effort - chasing three-point shooters off the line, creating turnovers, and dogging pick-and-rolls - Collins had little use for stoicism.
The Sixers improved to 2-5. The Knicks, led by Amar'e Stoudemire's 21 points and 15 rebounds, dropped to 3-3.
The Sixers now embark on a weeklong road trip, with four difficult games against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
In a cramped hallway at Madison Square Garden, Collins expounded on how much good one victory can do.
"It was good to see these guys feel good about themselves," he said. "They really felt good about winning on the road."
The win came without Andre Iguodala, who wore a suit and sat near the coaches, looking more like a sixth assistant than the team's starting swingman. Sidelined with tendinitis in his right Achilles tendon, he is listed as day-to-day.
In his absence, Collins started rookie Evan Turner.
"I just think they rose," Collins said. "We've played without Andre some stretches this year, and our guys have gotten in there and played very, very well. That is encouraging."
Turner finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while point guard Jrue Holiday and combo guard Lou Williams scored 19 points apiece and power forward Elton Brand scored 20.
But the difference came on defense. In the final 6 minutes, 46 seconds of the game, the Sixers allowed the Knicks only four points. Meanwhile, the Sixers scored 16 points and silenced the crowd.
"Definitely not fun to lose to Philly," Stoudemire said. "We know we are a much better team than we showed. Definitely have to give a better effort next game."
The Knicks finished 3 for 19 from the three-point line, where they usually excel.
"They did us a favor by missing so many," Williams said. "They take a lot and they make a lot. We got lucky and had them missing shots."
Collins played 11 guys, getting end-of-game defense from reserve center Tony Battie, three steals from reserve guard Jodie Meeks, and the usual scoring from Williams.
After explaining the merits of Sunday's victory, Collins pointed out how close his team had been to victories before.
"I told them, 'I don't want to take anything away from today, but we're [this close] from being 4-0 this week,' " he said. "That's the encouraging thing: We have been in all the games, and guys finally found a way to finish."
"We can't look at the past, but it is kind of disheartening," Brand said. "We know we've been playing much better than our record. . . . To come from behind and finish this game off against a team that has been playing well - and a team that has a lot of weapons - we were proud of the win."