Collins calls Sixers play "sensitive" and "fragile"


Collins calls Sixers play "sensitive" and "fragile"

After a 20-9 start, owning the top spot in the Atlantic Division for a majority of the season and boasting one of the best defenses in the league, the Philadelphia 76ers are very close to missing the playoffs.

The currently seventh-seeded Sixers fell into a tie with the eighth-seeded New York Knicks after losing to Boston on Sunday and are just one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks, who sit ninth in the Eastern Conference.

As quoted by CSNPhilly's Dei Lynam, Sixers Coach Doug Collins has been unable to properly respond to his teams recent struggle because of their youth and sensitivity.

"The one thing about players today is that theyre very sensitive, and very fragile, Collins said before his teams game against the Boston Celtics on Easter Sunday. They didnt grow up with tough coaches. You know, I had my ass kicked since I was six. Its a different time, and so I treat this team very much with kid gloves. I really do, and Im still looked at as an ogre

Its terrible, I mean, its hard. It really is hard, he said. I honestly find myself during the games looking at the coach and asking, Was I alright with those guys during that timeout? Did I hurt anybodys feelings? Was I OK? Coach, youre fine, youre fine I said OK, OK, I just wanted to make sure I didnt hurt anybodys feelings. Thats the sensitivity, and the younger the guys, it seems like the more sensitive. And thats what youre wrestling with.

If Collins feels that way about his team, it doesnt make much sense to publicly make those feelings known as what started out as such a promising season in Philadelphia could be ending in the lottery.

Collins has a reputation for wearing on players after a while and with him voicing his frustrations with his roster while still competing for a playoff spot, it might be best if both parties part ways after the season.

With several high-profiled coaches looking for work and a promising core of young players that defend, Philadelphia is an intriguing destination and definitely a team on the rise.

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

On the second (turkey) leg of a back-to-back, the Bulls didn't bring much energy in a 110-80 loss to the Utah Jazz. 

Instead of diving into the nitty-gritty of the uninspiring effort, though, we decided to just serve you up a Thanksgiving meal of highlights. Here are the top blocks from Wednesday's game: 

5. Derrick Favors is no Rudy Gobert -- that we know -- but imitation is the highest form of flattery. 

4. Are Bobby Portis chase down blocks the new LeBron James chase down blocks? Let's not get carried away... yet. We'll chalk it up to just a real nice hustle play by Bobby. 

3 and 2. Speaking of hustle plays... Jonas Jerebko isn't exactly known as a dominant defender. He sure made it hard for the Bulls on what should of been an easy fast-break bucket in the third quarter, though. First, he silenced Kris Dunn's reverse. Then, he met Lauri Markkanen at the rim and sent the rookie packing. The Baby Bulls 2.0 can blame it on fatigue, but they just handed Jerebko a highlight tape for years to come.   

1. In fairness, Jerian Grant had to get up a shot as the quarter was coming to a close. It is as vicious as it looks, though.  

Just as we all predicted, two rookies stole the show in L.A.

Just as we all predicted, two rookies stole the show in L.A.

There's not often hype surrounding a game between two of the NBA's worst teams, but Tuesday's Bulls-Lakers matchup was intriguing to many because it offered a chance to see a pair of top rookies compete. 

Oh, but you didn't think we meant Lonzo Ball and Lauri Markkanen, did you?

Nah, it was two different, less-touted first-year players that ended up stealing the spotlight at the Staples Center. 

Kyle Kuzma and Antonio Blakeney may not be household names, but they sure played like they were in the Bulls' 103-94 loss. 

Kuzma, the Lakers rook drafted 27th overall, has been a spark for Luke Walton's squad all season long. Boasting a terrific scoring arsenal, the Utah product carried the load for the Lakers' offense in the first half, dropping 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting. He finished the game as L.A.'s leading scorer with 22 in 40 minutes. But if you still need a more in-depth scouting report on Kuzma, just let Lonzo break it down:  

More importantly for Bulls fans, though, was the play of their undrafted guard who's signed to a two-way deal. 

Blakeney, the unofficial Summer League MVP, came off the bench on Tuesday and immediately left his mark on the game. The 21-year-old out of LSU posted 15 in the first half, finishing through contact as well as connecting on outside jumpers. 

Blakeney's shooting isn't reliable quite yet, but his energy has clearly influenced Hoiberg's rotation. The guard went from playing one NBA minute in the Bulls' first 11 games to playing 75 in the last four. Given that his two-way deal allows him to only spend 45 days with the team, it'll be fascinating to see how creative Gar Forman and John Paxson will get with his contract if this type of production continues. 

In a season that's obviously going to have its share of rough moments, an offseason flyer hitting is a huge plus for the rebuild. 

As for the recognized rookies, Lonzo's shooting woes persisted and Markkanen had maybe his worst offensive performance of his young Bulls career. Combined, they finished 7-for-30 with 21 points. Not ideal.