Bynum was expected to update the world before the game regarding the state of his aching knees and the prospect that he might eventually use them once again in an NBA game. That didn't happen, though, and the 76ers organization, which appears to be growing weary of either the questions or the answers, wasn't in much of a mood to shed much light on the matter.
We've seen this before, under a different ownership and a wholly different front office, and concerning a definitely different player, but the feeling is pretty much the same. This is how the franchise responded when the original Allen Iverson era moved into its third act and everyone knew it would not end well.
A lot of what happened then was Iverson's fault, and little of what is happening now seems to be Bynum's doing. The man, by his own words, and apparently by his actions, would love to be on the court. That isn't the case, however, and when the guy doesn't bother to show up until just before game time and doesn't appear on the bench, well, let's just say the Sixers don't like being quizzed about that any more than the prior administration liked being asked why Iverson stiffed Fan Appreciation Night.
Bynum's situation is becoming a problem the team would rather not have as the focus of the season. Of course, the alternative would be to pay close attention to the product that is on the court, and that's no bargain, either.
Tuesday night was a good example of that. The schedule said the Sixers were going to catch a break for a change. Despite the team's having lost five straight games and having played in a way Collins occasionally described as "sluggish," the NBA did the Sixers the favor of sending the Magic to town. Losers of 17 of their previous 18 games, and 10 straight on the road, the Magic were beat up, undermanned, dispirited, and coming off a 24-point home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
For almost any team, this would have been a layup, but the Sixers aren't just any team at the moment. They are a really bad team, one that plays poor defense, takes ill-advised shots, can't get to the free-throw line, and treats the basket area as if it were radioactive. As a bonus on Tuesday, they didn't try very hard.
"I gave my body for this franchise. I was never booed as a player. I ran through my sneakers," Collins said. "Sometimes, you've got to help yourself."
With the Sixers down by five at the half, Collins challenged the players to come out for the third quarter and assert themselves as an indication that they cared. Four minutes into the third quarter, the Orlando lead had gone from five points to 15 points and Collins subbed out four of the starters in a wholesale change that could be interpreted as a very pointed comment on their play.
"It's like [legendary college coach] Hank Iba said, 'If you don't want to play, son, your substitute does,' " Collins said.
It would be a mistake to decide the Sixers have totally quit on the season, but if they decided Tuesday night that the Magic could be dismissed without maximum effort, then their decision-making on all things is in question.
"Three of the guys weren't even sweating when we started the game," Collins said. "They were going to just ease into the game."
For a man who sweats doing a crossword puzzle, this is not easy for Collins to take. But he has a team that is as fragile as an egg and is showing no sign of becoming hard-boiled by the adversity it is facing. So far Collins has been able to bear it, but he isn't grinning.
"The team we tried to put together we've never seen," Collins said. "When you take a huge piece away, your warts show."
On Tuesday night, against a bad Orlando team, in a game that should have been a layup for them, with an effort that was less than professional, the Sixers showed more than just their warts.
Contact columnist Bob Ford at email@example.com.