Feb 21, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Tony Battie (left) grabs a rebound in front of Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) at the FedEx Forum. Memphis defeated Philadelphia 89-76. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
The Philadelphia 76ers are scheduled to play the tanking Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. Luckily, I traveled into the future to discover the outcome. Cop the scoop after the jump, chock-full of actual quotes from actual people.
Already strained player-coach relationships were put at risk when Evan Turner pouted upon hearing the news of his benching and Spencer Hawes proceeded to Stone Cold Stun every piece of furniture in his hotel room. Ultimately the move paid dividends, as the Sixers pulled off a shocking victory over one of the league's juggernauts, the New Jersey Nets, in front of 190 hostile fans at the Prudential Center.
"When I delivered the bad news to Spence via text, equipped with one emojicon to ease the tension, I told him to ask himself one question: W.W.T.T.R.D, What would 'The Texas Rattlesnake do?' to which Hawes responded, 'lol stun everything in sight coach,' so I ordered him to return to his hotel room and do just that. 'Do it,' I said".
"Evan took the news much worse," Collins replied when I asked about Turner. "I think Stan Hochman was onto something."
But the Sixers weren't out of the woods just yet. They had the second game of a back-to-back starring them straight in the face on Wednesday, when they traveled to Canada to battle the feisty Toronto Raptors – a team that slaughtered the Collins' Sixers just one week ago. The world collectively sat on pins and needles, wondering how the new starting lineup would respond in game two. Then Doug Collins shocked everyone.
Just 15 seconds before the Sixers took the court Doug Collins informed the Sixers' new sideline reporter, Neil Hartman, that he would make yet another change to the Sixers starting lineup. No one was prepared for what Collins was about to announce.
"Tonight's starting lineup will consist of: Sam Young at point guard, Spencer Hawes at shooting guard, Tony Battie at small forward, Jodie Meeks at center, and no power forward. We're playing four on five tonight."
Once again, Collins' brilliance led the Sixers to another victory as Jodie Meeks drained an NBA record, 14 three pointers with Aaron Gray and Amir Johnson incessantly chasing Jodes around the arch to no avail.
"Playing without a power forward really confused those guys," Collins said with a smile. "I coached Michael Jordan once," he continued.
Tony Battie finished with an Iguodalaesque line as the starting small forward, scoring 14 points on six shots, dishing out nine assists and corralling 17 rebounds. The only blemish in his game occurred at the 3:13 minute mark of the third quarter, when Jamaal Magloire pansted Battie in the post, exposing the embarassing Jigglypuff-shaped birthmark on his right thigh, for all of Canada to see.
"That guy Collins is an unbelievable coach," Raptors coach Dwayne Casey said, "Starting the most veteran player on his team at the three – brilliant. The only counter I had at my disposal was Jamaal Magloire, who was doing crosswords on the bench when his name was called. I told him 'We need your veteran presence out there Silky J; here's the prunes you asked for.'"
"I had nothing to do with the pants'ing," snapped Casey.
The Sixers won by a final score of 91-84, and all but locked up a Playoff spot in the Eastern Conference when the Bucks lost to the Knicks and a fight between Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis broke out in the locker room when Jennings ate the last grape-flavored Ring Pop (Monta's favorite flavor) out of the communal candy jar.
"PASSIONATE! INTENSE!! PROUD!!! THE 76ERS ARE BACK!!!! JOSH AND I WERE SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING REBUILDING, BUT AFTER TWO STRAIGHT WINS AGAINST THE NETS AND RAPTORS, WE BELIEVE WE'RE CONTENDERS AGAIN!!!!! FREE HATERADE FOR THE FIRST 200 FANS AT FRIDAY'S HOME GAME!!!!" Adam Aron tweeted following the game.
The Sixers will play again on Friday, when they host the Nets in their second-to-last home game of the season. Check out Raptors HQ, but don't spoil tonight's game for them.