Turner tries to cope with reduced minutes

Posted: February 14, 2012

CHARLOTTE - If you think an NBA player is ever happy with his playing time, you'd be sorely mistaken. You don't become an athlete at that level without having a fierce competitive nature.

Evan Turner, the 76ers' second-year swingman, is sort of in that position now. Turner, who played 14 minutes, 42 seconds last night against the host Bobcats, averaged a little more than 17 minutes in his previous three games. In the team's blowout win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, Turner played 22:32, but that included 12 in the fourth quarter, when the game was already out of reach. Sort of meaningless minutes, they were.

Last night, Turner was the fourth sub off coach Doug Collins' bench, entering with 2 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first quarter. Turner finished with four points and four rebounds as the Sixers improved to 20-9 with a 98-89 win over the lowly Bobcats (3-25).

Asked whether he thought Turner was slumping right now, coach Doug Collins replied: "I don't think that. I think what happens sometimes is we get caught with teams, and it's hard for me to take Dre [Andre Iguodala] off the floor if he's playing against one of the [opposition's] key guys. A lot of times, he gets matched up with a guy, and I want him to stay on that guy until the other coach rests [that key player] as well.

"And sometimes what ends up happening is Evan might not get in until the last minute or two of the third quarter or the last minute or two of the first quarter. Sometimes, we get caught a little bit like that.

"I like Jodie [Meeks] out on the court with certain guys, because he gives us a lot of space out on the floor and energy with his shooting. A lot of times, it gets caught up like that, so I think it's more of that than anything else.

"That's what this season is all about. Everybody wants to play; everybody wants to get their minutes. I wouldn't want anybody on my team that was happy sitting over there on the bench. I want them to all be out there. But there are certain nights where the minutes don't get there. But the one thing I've learned is that you always manage ahead. If you manage behind, you're dealing with crisis. If you manage ahead, you're dealing with people before they get down like that. I'm always talking with our guys, whether via text or face to face. I understand the nuances of this game. I've been around it for 40 years. I don't think there's anything that's going to surprise me."

When asked about his reduced minutes, Turner said: "There's a recession, baby. We're like the stock market with playing time."

Then, more seriously, Turner said: "I don't know. It's just one of those situations, and we have to do what's best for the team, and certain situations coach tries to do what's best out there, and that's it. You just have to move on with each game. We have so many games coming up. It is how it is. You just have to be professional about it. You have to just be prepared.

"That's pretty much what I took from Noc [teammate Andres Nocioni]; you've just got to be prepared when your number's called. Last year, it happened to him a few times, but he was always ready. That's what you have to do."

Hawes update

Collins said trainer Kevin Johnson spoke yesterday morning with starting center Spencer Hawes, who is in Philadelphia getting treatment on his strained left Achilles,' which forced him to miss the last four games and 14 of the past 16.

"[Hawes] said that when he got up this morning and walked for the first time, he said his right Achilles' felt like his left, so I didn't know if the other one was bad now, or what," Collins said, laughing. "I think it was a good sign. Knowing Spencer, I didn't know what that meant."

Asked when Hawes might return, Collins said: "We're hoping Friday." The Sixers play at Orlando tomorrow before returning home to play the defending champion Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

Father-son moment

After the Sixers lost at home to the San Antonio Spurs last Wednesday, Collins went home and watched a tape of that night's North Carolina-Duke game. He did not know the outcome. As the game was near the end, the phone rang in the Collins' house. It was his son, Chris, the associate head coach at Duke. Chris decided to have some fun with his father.

"I taped the Duke-Carolina game," Collins said. "Duke is down the whole way and my phone rings and there's 14 seconds to go on the game on the tape, and it's Chris, and he has this real morose voice thing going [acting as if the outcome was bad]. He said, 'I'll watch [the last 14 seconds] with you.' Then Austin Rivers hit the shot [a three at the buzzer for an 85-84 Duke win] and I'm screaming on the phone, and he's screaming on the phone with me. So I said, 'You got me. You got me.' It was a fun moment with Daddy and son."

Chris and his son, Ryan, sat a few rows behind the Sixers' bench last night.

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