ORLANDO, Fla. Throughout Doug Collins' coaching career, Year two has usually been pretty good for his teams.
In his three previous head coaching stints (Chicago, Detroit and Washington), Collins' teams averaged six more wins from the first year to the second.
And his latest team, the Philadelphia 76ers, continue that trend.
Despite playing 16 fewer regular season games because of the lockout-shortened season, it's not that big a stretch to believe that the Sixers (20-14) will win more games than last season's team that finished with a 41-41 record and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Philadelphia has been atop the Atlantic Division for most of this season. They head into the all-star break with 3.5 game lead over New York and the Boston Celtics trailing by four games.
Finishing atop the Atlantic Division would bode well for the Sixers when you consider the last time they won the division was 2001.
That year, they advanced to the NBA Finals where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Philadelphia forward Andre Iguodala isn't surprised at how quickly the franchise's fortunes have changed under Collins.
"It didn't take us long, but we had to figure out what he was about and what he was trying to do," said Iguodala, a first-time All-star this season. "And we figured out that he's kind of the right guy, and his track record shows that he's been able to come in in different situations and get things turned around in the first couple years."
0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions on the Celtics getting their first win of the season and a comparison between Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving in the 4th quarter.
7:17 - Phil Perry joins BST to break down the tale of the tape between the Falcons and the Patriots as he breaks down the quarterbacks, offense, defense, coaching, and intangibles between the two teams.
11:57 - Our crew on BST discuss number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and number 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum going up against each other and debate who seems like the better pick so far.
16:35 - In this segment of Irrelevant Questions, Tom Curran interviews Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett as he asks him a bunch of random questions.
HOUSTON - Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.
Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.
After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.
Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.