A question can barely be out of the interviewer's mouth before Doug Collins will start into his answer - an answer that usually informs for close to two or three minutes. The man simply knows so much about the game, is so entralled with statistics, that when he is questioned about something, anything, the answers come spewing out.
There is an exception, however. You want Collins to be short, almost anti-social, bring up the subject of playoffs, or what the next eight games before the All-Star break means to him and his team.
"I am looking no further than the New York Knicks," was Collins' answer both in the morning and before the game against the Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday. Though the Sixers are just three games behind the New York for the sixth playoff spot - with a home-and-home series upon them - Collins is not about to look any further than the task right before him.
He has to be that way, if for nothing else as an example to his young team to take nothing for granted. With that, let's look at some keys for the Sixers in both the games this weekend against New York, with the second coming Sunday at noon at Madison Square Garden.
*Keep Amar'e Stoudemire's point total below his shot total. This one comes directly from Collins. If Stoudemire scores 20 points, Collins wants him be taking around 20 shots to do it. That means Stoudemire's shooting percentage is low and he isn't getting to the foul line too much.
*Don't get into a run and gun weekend. No question the Sixers are at their best when they get out on the break. But they do that best when they are making steals and stops, not when the ball is going through the basket. New York will run any time, any place and sometimes without any reason. The Sixers can't be that Helter Skelter.
*Keep getting the bench production. The Sixers bench has been one of their strongest points all season. When you get against a running team like the Knicks, the bench obviously becomes even more important. When you're playing that team twice in three days, it is even more so.
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