Sixers’ Collins doing what he does best—teach


Mar 28

When the Bulls were searching for a coach in the summer of 2008, current Sixers coach Doug Collins was a strong candidate and nearly got the job.

Collins confirmed on Monday it was a job he would have taken had it been offered, but after discussing the situation with team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, the two ultimately went in different directions with the Bulls eventually hiring Vinny Del Negro and Collins landing in Philadelphia last May.

“I think everything works out,” said Collins. “I’m a man of strong faith and I believe you’re led to be in certain places. I thought I was being led back to Chicago two years ago. When Jerry and I spoke, he was a little uncomfortable with it. He grew to care about me so much as a person that he didn’t want to have to worry about me being his coach. I understood that.”

In terms of things working out, Collins was right. He now finds himself at the helm of a team which has turned itself around dramatically since his arrival. Not only did the Sixers start the current season 3-13, but they closed out 2009-10 losing 21 of their last 26 contests.

“I’m having a blast,” said Collins of the remarkable turnaround. “I’ve got a great young group of guys. Every guy on our team has gotten better this year.

“A lot of these guys in the locker room endured an 8-34 [stretch] to be in the spot we are right now with a chance to make the playoffs,” Collins continued. “It’s fun for a teacher, a guy who likes to teach.”

Collins had high praise for another teacher of the game, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Collins, a Coach of the Year candidate himself, has Thibodeau and Portland’s Nate McMillan as his frontrunners for the award. Collins noted that both have managed to lead their team to winning seasons this year in spite of multiple injuries to their key players.

“Tommy obviously has paid his dues,” remarked Collins. “He’s a basketball lifer in a lot of ways, even though it’s his first job as a head coach. From my understanding, he eats, drinks and sleeps basketball. He locks himself in a room and watches tape hours and hours at a time. He’s got a great basketball acumen and has been with some great teachers.”

One of the players Thibodeau is fortunate enough to teach is Derrick Rose, whom Collins raved about.

“He’s amazing,” said Collins of the Bulls point guard. “He’s improved his outside shooting. If you try to go underneath all those screens, he’ll pull up and hit threes. You can’t keep him out of the paint. He’s got a rare combination of speed and strength. He gets to the line and makes his free throws.

“I think the neatest thing about him is as great of a player he is, he’s a better kid,” added Collins. “That kind of humility in this city of Chicago, these fans are so blessed to have a guy like that they can cheer for. Hopefully he’s going to stay healthy and have a long career here. He’s a brilliant player.”

Speaking of Rose…

At Milwaukee on March 26, Derrick Rose scored three straight shots in the closing minutes, turning an 87-87 tie into a 93-87 lead, and then assisted on the game’s final field-goal as the Bulls won 95-87. He scored or assisted on Chicago’s final 16 points of the game, as he finished with 30 points and a career-high 17 assists, to become only the third player in Bulls history to reach those marks in one game (Guy Rodgers had a 34/18 game in 1966, in the third game in Bulls franchise history, and Michael Jordan had a 33/17 game in 1989). According to Elias Sports Bureau, Rose also became the first player in NBA history to reach 30 points and 17 assists in a game in which his team scored 95 or fewer points.

‘Los Bulls’ honor Hispanic community with Latin Night

The Bulls honored the Hispanic community by hosting Latin Night, presented by the McDonald’s Hispanic Owner-Operators Association (MHOA), during Chicago’s game against Philadelphia.

As part of the NBA’s Noche Latina initiative, the Bulls recognized fans and players across Latin America and U.S. Hispanic communities by wearing specially designed uniforms with “Los Bulls” branding on the team’s red road uniforms. Fans were also treated to Latin Night themed festivities throughout the game including player introductions announced in Spanish, a mariachi band performing the National Anthem, and flags of 20 Spanish-speaking Latin countries presented at halftime.

Bulls vs. Sixers season notes

Earlier this season (12/21/10 at the United Center), the Bulls took the first game of the season series 121-76 … Chicago’s 45-point win was the largest margin of victory in team history against Philly … in that game, Derrick Rose posted a double-double with 22 points and 12 assists, while Luol Deng also tallied 22 points … Chicago won the season series last year 3-1, for the first time since the 2006-07 season (2-1) … the Bulls are 3-7 versus the Sixers in overtime, most recently falling 106-103 in overtime on Feb. 3, 2010 … the last time there was a series sweep in this series came in 2003-04, when the Sixers went 4-0 against the Bulls … the Bulls are 8-10 against the 76ers in their last 18 meetings at the United Center … Chicago is 31-62 all-time versus Philadelphia in the City of Brotherly Love and 53-46 in the Windy City … last season, Derrick Rose averaged 21.0 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.3 rpg and 37.8 mpg in four games against the 76ers; he also shot .500 from the floor … in four contests versus the Bulls, Andre Iguodala averaged a team-high 20.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 5.0 apg in 38.3 mpg … the Bulls have not swept the season series versus Philly since 1996-97, when they went 4-0.

Audio—Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame comments (03.28.2011):

Audio—Sixers coach Doug Collins’ pregame comments (03.28.11):

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