Following a win over the Celtics back on March 7, Doug Collins said that Evan Turner would start for the rest of the year. In the 16 games following that statement, the Sixers went 6-10.
That skid caused some in-fighting among teammates in the media, rumors of a disconnect between the coach and his players and a fall to the very bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Now, Collins has a new lineup. Floor-spreader Jodie Meeks is back in as the starting shooting guard. Spencer Hawes, whose Achilles tendon injury crippled what was a promising season, is part of the second unit, along with Turner. Rookie Nikola Vucevic is the new starting center.
In the two games since the lineup change, things have gotten back to the way they were earlier this season. The Sixers throttled two inferior opponents in the Nets and Raptors on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
"Two big wins for our guys, two really big wins," Collins said.
The Sixers are suddenly feeling good about themselves again, but the playoff picture isn't as rosy. They are three games behind the Celtics for the Atlantic lead with just eight games to play. Barring a miracle, a date with either the Bulls or Heat in the first round of the playoffs awaits. Yikes.
"Now we feel like it is our opportunity to kind of put some games together," Lou Williams said. "This will be a big week and at the end of it we'll just see where we stand."