Doug Collins is, officially, the NBA’s answer to Rafa Benitez. You won’t see banners calling for his sacking in the stands in Philadelphia, but in the contest for the post-game Rant of the Week, the 76ers coach is right up there with Chelsea’s interim manager for sheer shock value.
After watching his side drop their sixth loss in a row on Tuesday, this time to the very lowly Orlando Magic, Collins let rip at his team, admitting he has no answers for the way they have gone from outside tips for the Eastern Conference to also-rans in just six months.
"There was so much this season that we were looking forward to,” he said.
“But it just seems like every time we turn around, it's been something else."
Like Benitez, that could spell a parting of the ways in the summer. In the short-term, it spells trouble for Philly on Thursday night when they visit Chicago where the Bulls will try to break out of their own two-game skid.
The Sixers haven’t gone above 92 points in their losing streak and although their hosts have been struggling offensively of late, they should win out. But there’s a big handicap of -7.0 for the Bulls at 1.91. Go under that - and the total points line of 179.0.
Injuries have wrecked the high hopes the Minnesota Timberwolves originally had of making a play-off run this season and they figure to be a classic team which plays out the final stretch to figure out the future, rather than the present.
There seems little point in risking another relapse from Kevin Love and with Chase Budinger also out, whilst Andrei Kirilenko is a doubt, they’ll find it tough to take victory in LA over the Lakers tonight.
Yet it’s still one to watch for the duel between the ageing pass-master Steve Nash and his reincarnation, the league’s young assist-maker Ricky Rubio. The Spaniard has been a key factor in keeping the Timberwolves competitive but bet on the Lakers to come up trumps.
The Euroleague’s game of the week comes on Thursday night when Siena square off with Fenerbahce. The Italians have recovered from a poor start to win 11 out of 15 with their outside shooting proving deadly. They’re still in a tough race to make the play-offs but take them here on the handicap of -6.5 at 1.91.
Best Bet: Go under 179.0 total points in Philadelphia-Chicago at 1.91
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