When it comes to talking on defense, the Sixers have become the Marcel Marceau of the NBA. Coach Doug Collins said after Sunday's 111-98 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers that the Sixers aren't communicating enough on D.
Actually if they were talking more during the first half, they would have simply been saying, "Help."
The Lakers were 10 of 15 from beyond the arc, led 60-50 at the half and were not seriously threatened during the final two quarters.
"The guys are not talking," Collins said.
He said it was even a subject he addressed during the morning shootaround.
"Until we want to embrace that and talk, we're going to be on roller skates," he said.
Then Collins pointed out something that really hurt him to admit.
"It is interesting, the Lakers were doing to us tonight on the three point line what we had planned on doing," he said. "The running and jumping that we worked on, but you've got to trust each other."
In the second half the Lakers shot just 4 for 19 from beyond the arc, but by that time the damage was done.
And it's not as if the Lakers were being contested in the second half. They just happened to miss several open treys.
Sixers forward Dorell Wright agreed that talking on defense is essential.
"It is contagious if one or two do it, then everybody else falls in line," said Wright, who had six points and seven rebounds. "It starts in practice and you can't do it overnight."
One simple question?
The team began training camp in the beginning of October. There have been a lot of practices.
Shouldn't the talking have been done from the beginning?
It's not as if Collins doesn't preach this. He has been telling his team all year they need to communicate better.
What was even more disappointing to Collins was that the Sixers wasted a decent three-point night themselves (10 for 25, 40 percent).
Of course it takes more than talking to play good perimeter defense, but without communication, a team can be lost.
For now the Sixers (12-12) have a number of problems, but communicating on defense currently ranks on the top of the list.