Collins sees good and bad in Sixers' preseason-opening loss

Posted: October 06, 2010

ROANOKE, Va. - It had been 13 years since an NBA game was played here, so the fans who came to the Roanoke Civic Center last night to see the 76ers and New Jersey Nets play in an exhibition game certainly were a bit curious. And so was new Sixers coach Doug Collins.

The objects of Collins' wonderment? How well backup center Marreese Speights would play. How well his team would be able to defend on the interior. How rookies Evan Turner and Craig Brackins would respond to their first game in an NBA uniform.

Some questions, obviously, still remain after the Nets' 103-96 win.

"I saw some good things," Collins said. "We had three turnovers in the first half, then just shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers. We were very careless, but I thought we did a much better job in the paint defensively in the second half. I thought Mo played well early, then got tired. We could have done a better job inside defensively."

Speights was very active on the offensive end, scoring a team-high 19 points, though he was partially responsible for Nets center Brook Lopez torching the Sixers for 24 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes. It didn't help that Sixers starting center Spencer Hawes was called for two fouls less than 3 minutes into the game.

Turner and Brackins got their feet wet, as Turner totaled 12 points and seven rebounds, and Brackins, who has surprised many with his play, had five each of points and rebounds in 21 minutes, and the team got out on the fastbreak quite a bit and executed well when it did, outscoring the Nets by 22-5 on the break.

Elton Brand looked quick and active in scoring 15 for the Sixers. Jrue Holiday scored 10 and collected five rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes. He also turned the ball over five times.

"I think in the second half we could have done better," Holiday said of the Sixers getting outscored, 46-38, in the final two periods. "We did well in spurts and we played poorly in spurts. I think we did well on the break, but we've always had that ability because of our length. We can execute better and take better care of the ball. I take full responsibility for that."

Turner played mostly the point-guard spot, which Collins has said he would for the time being. The rookie was semi-pleased with his performance.

"Sometimes I have to not fall in love with the jump shot," he said after shooting 1-for-6 from the floor. "Execution is key for sure."

King of the Nets

Former Sixers general manager Billy King is quickly getting accustomed to that role in New Jersey after being hired by the Nets during the summer. It is King's first gig back in the NBA since being let go by the Sixers in December 2007, when he was replaced by current GM Ed Stefanski.

"I was starting to get a little impatient, wondering if I was going to get back in the league," said King before last night's game. "To me, [New Jersey] is the perfect place. I can keep my house in Philly, my kids can stay in school and the organization is one that Rod [Thorn, current Sixers president] left in pretty good shape."

King, of course, has a huge undertaking as the Nets won just 12 times last season.

"I think it's a very good situation because we had cap space, we've got young players, we've got plenty of picks and a great coach," he said. "Everyone talks about the 12 wins, but it's a whole new roster. This group didn't win 12 games. I don't think they think about that."

Six Shots

Sixers president Rod Thorn, general manager Ed Stefanski, assistant GM Tony DiLeo and director of player personnel Courtney Witte sat in the front row on the opposite side of the benches . . . Forward Thad Young left the game in the first quarter with a corneal abrasion to his left eye. He did not return . . . Andres Nocioni (ankle), Darius Songaila (back) and James Florence (hamstring) didn't play due to injury . . . Doug Collins said before the game that Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand would not play tonight in Manchester, N.H., against the Boston Celtics. He planned on sitting Jodie Meeks last night, but Meeks got minutes after the Young injury . . . Derrick Favors, who was taken by the Nets with the third pick, finished with four points in 12 minutes.

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