The Doug Collins Era, Evan Turner Era, and Darius Songaila Era all get under way this evening when the Sixers take on the Miami Heat at the CoreStates/First Union/Wachovia/Wells Fargo Center.
Interestingly enough, the Evan Turner Era is off to an inauspicious start as Sixers coach Doug Collins announced that Turner will start his rookie year coming off the bench along with fellow youngster Thaddeus Young in a move that surprised most. This has to be troubling to all Sixers fans, especially in light of recent rumors floating in NBA circles that Turner has “draft bust” written all over him. Collins cited Turner’s slow adjustment to the NBA style of play as being the reason behind the decision, however Turner’s summer and preseason play did nothing to convince Collins that he had to be on the court. Turner has great pedigree and was a great player in college, so to doubt his talent this early would be foolish, however it must be disheartening to any Sixers fan to see their next supposed franchise “savior” be unable to crack the starting lineup on a team seemingly destined for the lottery. The worst thing Sixers fans can do at this point, though, would be to panic and heap criticism on the rookie. If come April, Turner still can’t crack the lineup, then it may be time to start talking, but some rookies take longer than others to grasp what it takes to play in the NBA, and Collins is notoriously hard on young players.
The Sixers will take the court with Jrue Holliday, Jason Kapono, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes, and Andre Igoudala to match up against Dwayne Wade, Carlos Arroyo, Joel Anthony, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh, last night’s starters for Miami.
Tonight’s game is one that the Sixers will likely have to look for moral victories over one in the win column. The Heat were frankly embarrassed by the Celtics last night, held to just 80 points, tallying only 9 in the first quarter. LeBron James had 31 points but also committed 8 turnovers in his first game as the self-proclaimed second coming of Magic Johnson. Fortunately for Heat fans, and unfortunately for Philadelphians looking for a sports team to hang their hat on in the wake of this weekend’s disasters on the football field and baseball diamond, the Sixers are next up for a team that many had expected to push 70 wins this year. Expect Miami to come out firing. Dwayne Wade (13 pts, 4 reb, 6 ast) and Chris Bosh (8 pts, 8 reb, 2 ast) were profoundly silent against the Celtics, and will certainly be looking to get up to pace offensively, so look for a much more balanced Miami attack with all three of Miami’s superstars scoring in double figures.
As has been mentioned throughout the offseason, 2010-11 will be all about building a foundation for the Sixers. They are definitely not contenders, but certainly have a young enough nucleus in place that fans will accept marked improvement in play over the course of the season as a measurement of success for this team. This is good news for the Sixers because all indicators point to Wednesday being a rough night for Doug Collins’ crew.
Miami comes out angry after their debacle Tuesday night in Boston, hits on all cylinders offensively, and puts the Sixers away early. Heat win 115-91.