PHOENIX - Doug Collins and Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry have a long history together, both on and off the basketball court. Collins had said before last night's 76ers-Suns game that winning against Gentry isn't all that great because you don't like to see a friend lose a game.
During his team's 123-110 win at the U.S. Airways Center, Collins ran up and down the sideline with his players, jumped high in the air when a loose ball was up for grabs and poured out as much sweat as his players as his team improved to 13-19 with a 123-110 win over the Suns.
The frenetic pace of the game seemed to be quite conducive for Phoenix.
Veterans Steve Nash and Grant Hill might not have the speed or the young legs that litter the Sixers roster, but they have the advantage in an up-and-down contest in a much different way. To the likes of Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks and Evan Turner, the game was speedy both physically and mentally. For Nash and Hill, it is much slower in their minds. That is the advantage of being veterans. As quick as the contest may go up and down the floor, it always stays the same speed in their minds.
Last night, however, youth won out. The Sixers, despite being without Andre Iguodala (Achilles' tendinitis), got significant contributions from all eight who played and handed the Suns their fourth straight loss.
"Needless to say, that was incredibly gratifying," said Collins, smeared with perspiration following the win. "I'm not used to those kind of games. At halftime, I told our assistant coaches that I felt like I was a car going downhill without brakes. The Suns are so good at playing that game, I was concerned about us playing that way for 48 minutes."
If the 76ers are forced into a shootout with teams, they usually have about as much of a chance of coming away with a win as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid did when cornered in Bolivia.
Heading into the game, the Sixers were 0-11 when allowing more than 100 points and had been prone to giving away small leads in close games.
Both trends changed as Holiday turned in a stellar performance with 25 points and seven assists and Andres Nocioni, filling in for Iguodala, collected 22 points and 12 rebounds. Tje Sixers improved to 13-19 and 3-3 on this eight-game road trip.
Rookie Turner, who had been mired in a slump and accumulated some DNPs, had his best game of the season, scoring 23 points. His biggest basket of the game was a three-pointer from the left corner with the shot clock running down that gave the Sixers a 117-107 lead with 1 minute, 42 seconds remaining. He added another backbreaking jumper less than a minute later. After both, he smiled while skipping his way to the bench during timeouts.
"Coach came in at halftime and said that we weren't really the type of team that should run with them, but we stayed with them," said Holiday, who is averaging more than 21 points his last four games.
The Sixers did more than that. They lapped a team that usually doesn't get lapped in high-scoring games. And they did it primarily because of their adolescent backcourt of Holiday and Turner.
"I was just looking for my own shot a little bit," said Turner, who shot 9-for-12. "Sometimes I come into the game and second-guess on shots. I just kind of focused in a little bit. I saw the first one go in. There are so many possessions. We've been in a few games where it's a halfcourt game, you only get a few possessions and you only get a few shots. A game like tonight really helped out all of us."
Elton Brand added 16 points for the Sixers. Thaddeus Young had 15, Spencer Hawes collected 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Lou Williams, just back with the team after the birth of his daughter, chipped in 10.
Nash had 23 points and 15 assists for the Suns (13-17) and Vince Carter, seeing his first action in a Suns uniform since being acquired from Orlando, had 18 points and Hill added 17.
"He was aggressive and assertive the whole night," Collins said of Turner. "The whole time he never ran away from the shot. He drove the ball, he got in the paint, he made a couple of pullups and he was good defensively. I don't know if it's the West Coast or maybe a freer style of basketball, but tonight he was fabulous."
Collins, who has lived in the Phoenix area for many years now, won bragging rights over Gentry.
"This is my home and I come back in the summer and it's going to be nice to come home," Collins said. "Going back to [old hometown] Chicago wasn't too friendly, we got beat by 45. So, thank God I got a win in one place."
For more Sixers coverage, read the Daily News' Sixers blog, Sixerville, at
Follow him on Twitter at