Sixers on rebound from Memphis loss

Coach Doug Collins described the 76ers' blowing a 21-point lead to Memphis last Friday as "a teachable moment."
Coach Doug Collins described the 76ers' blowing a 21-point lead to Memphis last Friday as "a teachable moment."
Posted: February 04, 2011

After squandering a 21-point, third-quarter lead in a 99-94 loss to the visiting Memphis Grizzlies last Friday, the Sixers appeared to hit a new low.

Less than a week later, they have rebounded with consecutive convincing wins against the visiting Denver Nuggets and against the Nets in New Jersey.

At 22-26, the Sixers now stand in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

They trail the New York Knicks (25-23) by three games for the sixth spot. The Sixers will play the Knicks twice this weekend starting with Friday's 7 p.m. matchup at the Wells Fargo Center.

"That Memphis loss could have deflated a lot of teams, but we turned it up a notch since then," Sixers forward Elton Brand said after Thursday's light workout at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Brand said everyone on the team took the Memphis game personally.

"Being up 21 in the third quarter, we can't have that kind of slippage, and we won't have that again and lose again," he said.

The Sixers had 11 turnovers in the fourth quarter against Memphis. On Wednesday, they committed nine in the entire game against New Jersey.

"As hard as it was to lose that [Memphis] game, it was a teachable moment and you are going to go through them sometime during your career," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "You might as well learn how to deal with it and how you will bounce back, and our guys have done that."

The Sixers beat the Knicks in their only meeting this season, 106-96, on Nov. 7 at Madison Square Garden. They held the Knicks to 3-for-19 shooting from beyond the arc.

Entering Thursday, the Knicks were 10th in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (36.6).

"When you come down defensively, you have to meet them above the three-point line," Collins said.

The teams will have a rematch Sunday at noon at Madison Square Garden.

The triple-double. The Sixers were still buzzing about Jrue Holiday's first career triple-double on Wednesday when he had 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in the win over the Nets.

"I definitely appreciate the effort and the skill it takes for a triple-double," Brand said. "Jrue is capable of doing that many more times for us."

How difficult is the feat?

Brand, averaging 2.4 career assists per game, is in his 12th season and has had one triple-double. That came on Jan. 26, 2003, while he was playing for the Los Angeles Clippers in a 108-101 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Brand had 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Knicks fined. The NBA fined Knicks scout Rodney Heard $20,000 for violating league rules restricting contact between NBA teams and players eligible for the draft. The Knicks' organization was also fined $200,000 for Heard's actions.

"We will abide by the NBA's decision and will have no further comment," a Knicks team spokesman said in an e-mail response to The Inquirer.

By the numbers. The Sixers have won five of their last six games. . . . Since losing six in a row, the Knicks have won three of their last five, but are coming off Wednesday's 113-97 loss to visiting Dallas. . . . The Knicks are seeking their 13th road win, the same number of victories they have at home. . . . The Sixers are 15-8 at home and 7-18 away from the Wells Fargo Center, although they have won their last two road games.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or


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