It appeared to be a good time for Collins to give Turner his first start of the season. Turner had seen his minutes dwindle of late, and if body language is any indication, he was none too pleased with his diminished playing time. And Meeks has been mired in a terrible shooting slump lately, having made only seven of his last 32 shots from three-point range entering last night, which of course is his specialty.
The move worked for Meeks, but not Turner.
In 32 minutes, Turner shot 1-for-12 and scored two points, although he did have 12 rebounds. In 18 minutes, Meeks was 5-for-10 and scored 13 points.
Vucevic made his sixth start of the season, perhaps to help him get more confidence in his offensive game. He scored six points on 3-for-8 shooting, despite playing against a Bucks team that has struggled defensively in the absence of Andrew Bogut (broken right ankle).
In the previous three games before last night, starting power forward Elton Brand posted 38 points and 37 rebounds, garnering three straight double-doubles in the process.
"The time off really helped me," Brand said. "Missing the two games before the All-Star break, then having the 5 days off before the next game gave me more than a week to rest, and it was really helpful. It helped my hand, it helped my legs. There's no question I felt better when I got back from the break."
Brand missed the two games before the break with a sprained right thumb that has bothered him for several weeks. The thumb got whacked again in Minnesota on Feb. 19, forcing him to sit.
Now, though, he appears healthier and more lively than he has all season. Although he had just six points last night, Brand did pull down 12 rebounds.
"I think that the two games that he missed and then the All-Star break helped him," Collins said. "He will never say a word, though. You will never know how he feels; he's just not going to say it. He's such a proud guy. You never hear him make an excuse. He's a team guy.
"He's been very active [lately]. We need him; we need him to play in there, because coming down to this stretch of games, we need to be able to throw that ball around the basket and get some activity and some scores. Hopefully, he and Nik [Vucevic] will be able to give us some post presence down the stretch. I think Elton has had more bounce. The scary thing is that [last night] is our fifth game in 7 days. Then we go home and play [tomorrow] and Friday, then play Sunday afternoon in New York. The games just keep coming. I think he's been bouncier. I'm just hoping we can keep him that way."
Second-year forward Craig Brackins has had a hard time getting onto an NBA basketball court during his short career. Because of that, he has had several stints in the NBA Development League. His latest one, a seven-game run with the Maine Red Claws, ended late last week. In those games, Brackins was quite successful, going for 18.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.6 blocks in 34 minutes of play.
"It felt good to get out there and get in some serious minutes," said Brackins, who has played in only eight games this season for the Sixers for 27 minutes total. "It's always a boost to my confidence when I can get out there and put up some numbers."
Does he foresee minutes coming his way?
"I can't control that," he said with a laugh, "but if they need me, I'm ready. I'm just going to continue to work as hard as I can and hopefully good things will happen."
Contact staff writer Bob Cooney at email@example.com or @BobCooney76 on Twitter.