76ers Start Their Playoff Push with 94-87 loss to the Timberwolves

76ers coach Doug Collins watched his team lose to the Minnesota Timberwolves and put them further back in the race for a playoff spot.It’s the start of the “second half” of the NBA season, with 31 games to go, and the 76ers were looking to kick it off with a good start, something that’s eluded them for most of their games this year. Wednesday night was no different than the first part of the season has been. The 76ers (22-30) fell behind right away to the Timberwolves (20-31) and never held the lead, struggled to fight back, and ultimately couldn’t overcome their early mistakes in losing 94-87 in Minnesota.

In what has become painfully obvious over the first half of the season, the 76ers have no inside game and the team that’s built around Doug Collins affinity for jump shots, can’t make them.  When the opposing center has 27 points and 18 rebounds and his name isn’t Dwight Howard, then you can chalk it up to a bad night. When the center in Nikola Pekovic, you have a flat out problem.  Doug Collins style calls for jump shots, the only problem is that the 76ers don’t have people that are capable of consistently making them.  Against the Timberwolves, the 76ers shot just 38% from the field.  When Holiday, Turner, and Nick Young (all starters) combine to shoot 14-40, then you can’t expect to win many games.

It’s become tiresome to try to write a different piece about the same thing, day in and day out, because the 76ers are playing the same game, over and over. They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You would think that shouldn’t apply in sports, where a good system should be able to run, as long as you have quality players to run it.

Light Bulb.

That’s where the 76ers fall short. They don’t have enough quality players to run Doug Collins system. If you’re going to be a jump shooting team, then you should probably get some shooters and let them play. Jrue Holiday isn’t a jump shooter. While he’s developed in to one of the top point guards in the league, his strength isn’t jump shooting, so he should be surrounded by shooters. Evan Turner, while he’d love to be, isn’t a shooter. He’s another guy that is a good player, but is better when he has the ball in his hands. He can’t have the ball, because Holiday IS one of the top point guards and also he’s the best player this team has. Nick Young is streaky and may go on runs where he doesn’t seem to miss, but there’s a reason he’s on his 3rd team in 6 years.  I won’t even waste your time with Jason Richardson (injured), Jeremy Pargo (who?), Dorell Wright (underused) and Royal Ivey (who, again?). None of these players, with the exception of Wright should be on the floor, yet Collins treats them like they’re quality players, which they’re not.

The most painful piece of information that you can look at, and it’s a fairly regular pain, is that Arnett Moultrie is a DNP (did not play) coach’s decision. This is a first round pick who, when he’s on the floor, provides a large and athletic and talented presence down low that the 76ers desperately need. In the 8 minutes he averages, he’s getting just under 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. That translates out to 13 points and 13 rebounds per 48 minutes.  You mean to tell me that Lavoy Allen deserves 24 minutes a game and Moultrie can’t see the floor. Even Kwame Brown got himself 6 minutes last night.

This season, with all of its lofty expectations has been a complete disaster and it’s not getting any better.  You can’t blame this on Andrew Bynum, because we all knew he was damaged when he was traded for, but we did get rid of Iguodala and let Holiday become the All-Star he is. If you’re looking for who to point the finger at, it should be aimed directly at Doug Collins. There’s no reason to believe, 52 games in to the season, the 76ers will be what he wants them to be. He needs to understand that they’re not capable of playing his system. If he can’t do that then it will surely drive us all insane.

The 76ers next play the conference leading and defending champion Miami Heat (37-14) Saturday, February 23rd at 6:30 pm in Philadelphia.

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Tim Sullivan

Born and raised in Fishtown. Bleeds Philly sports. You can follow him on Twitter @IrishTim74.