Doug Collins is happy with the way his 2-2 team has played, with all the games all on the road this season. He feels the 76ers have the ability to be a .500 team on the road, but says that some positive results are needed against some of the more physical teams.
Collins says the two wins, over Phoenix and Golden State, are finesse teams in the same mold of the Sixers. The two losses have been to physical teams, Portland and Utah.
So now the Sixers head into a matchup with a team that Collins puts in the physical category during Wednesday’s game in New Orleans against the Hornets.
The 2-3 Hornets have outrebounded their opponents 249-206.
“What I have seen is we played well against teams that are like us, more finesse and we struggled against bigger, stronger teams,” Collins said after Tuesday’s practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
So Collins, a master motivator, has presented the challenge to his team of beating a physical squad on the road.
“We’re looking at a bigger, stronger team and we have to start showing we can beat those kind of teams,” he said.
It won’t be easy even if shooting guard Eric Gordon (knee) doesn’t play. The Hornets said more would be known about his availability at Wednesday’s shootaround. Forward Trevor Ariza is questionable with a groin injury.
Not having either or both, will truly hurt New Orleans, which is offensively challenged as it is, averaging 86 points per game. (Conversely, the Sixers are averaging 103 points).
The Hornets have some decent size in the front court with Emeka Okafor (6-10, 255), Ariza (6-8, 210) and Carl Landry (6-9, 248) as the starters, but they bring even more size of the bench, including former Clipper Chris Kaman (7-0, 265) and former Sixer Jason Smith (7-0, 240).
Smith isn’t known as being a true banger inside, but he’s another big body.
Still, it’s hard to see the Hornets being able to keep up with the Sixers transition game. And if Gordon and Ariza don’t play, then the Hornets offense won’t look much different than Golden State’s in Saturday’s 107-79 loss to the Sixers.
Then again, don’t say that to Collins. He has his team believing every game on the road will be a dog-fight and that the Hornets provide the type of obstacle the Sixers need to conquer.
There are different ways to motivate a team, but Collins it seems is putting even more emphasis on this game. He realizes that beginning the season 3-2 on the road and then playing 18 of the next 22 games at the Wells Fargo Center would bode well for the Sixers.
And he wants the team to feel it can win against any style, which is why he has presented this latest challenge to the Sixers.