"We went through a tough last 3 minutes of the game, but the game wasn't lost then," Collins said. "The game was lost in the second quarter. In the last 9 1/2 minutes of the second quarter they scored on 15 of 16 possessions, shot 14-for-18 from the floor in the second quarter, went 2-for-2 from three, and went 7-of-8 from the line. That's where the game was lost. People always want to focus in on the fourth quarter and what happened in the last 2 minutes. They didn't score either, except for two tip-ins.
"It was our defense, totally our defense. We let Chris Johnson come in and we didn't guard him. He was plus-19 on the floor against us. [Jerryd] Bayless came in here last year and hit us for 25 [with Toronto]. We gave him 19 in the first half. He got two in the second half. The way we played in the second half against Toronto [erasing a 17-point lead for a win], we've got to play like that all the time. We have 9-minute lapses that are costing us. Basketball is not a game about running plays, basketball is a game about making plays. You have a format, and I went through all of our offensive possessions and our guys saw where the plays were there to be made. We've just got to make them."
The point Collins is making is that in order to win, his team has to get to almost every loose ball, grab the rebounds that are there for the taking, and not allow mental lapses to pop up when the game is on the line. He has a starting lineup that now includes Spencer Hawes and Nick Young, a move to ensure a faster start at the offensive end, primarily. Problem is, Collins' bench is now limited in scoring, and if the Sixers' defense isn't running on all cylinders, quarters like Monday's second are possible.
"It's been sort of an interesting season for us with this first group and then trying to form a bench," said Collins. "We've had J-Rich [Jason Richardson] out for a while. Swaggy [Nick Young] was out for a while, Jrue [Holiday] was out for a while, and now we've tried to go to a starting lineup that will get us off to better starts. And in doing that, I have to come in with a defensive bench, so I have to make sure that we have enough scoring on the floor when I bring those guys in.
"We're playing winning basketball; now we're just making some losing plays. It reminds me a lot of my first year [when the team started 3-13]. The results recently here have been some very tough losses, but we didn't validate. It's like when you play closest-to-the-pin on a par-3 in golf. You don't get the closest-to-the-pin unless you get the 3, you have to validate. We have to start validating. Our guys are playing hard, I think we're a together group, and those are the things that you look for in a coaching group. Because when you're losing it's easy for guys to be unsure."
Andrew Bynum did some more, and different, agility work on the floor along with some shooting drills. The media was asked to leave before his session with trainer Kevin Johnson was finished .
On Twitter: @BobCooney76