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76ers defeat Pacers in Collins' possible swan song

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Philadelphia 76ers sent Doug Collins off on a positive note, if Wednesday was indeed his final game as coach of the team.

The 76ers led from start to finish in their 106-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"I just wanted to thank them for the hard work," Collins said. "I always say this before the last game, get your hands together, look around this room and realize this is the NBA and this room will change."

There have been multiple reports that Collins will not return as coach of the team next season.

"I don't know, but as of now, I'm the coach," Collins said.

Forward Dorell Wright came off the bench to lead the 76ers with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Evan Turner added 16 points. The 76ers will not make the playoffs after reaching the post-season last season.

"I'm not going to lie to you, it's going to be nice to get away for a while," center Spencer Hawes said. "We ended on a positive note with a win here. Hopefully it will give us some blocks to build on for the future."

The Pacers are not heading into the playoffs on a positive note. They ended the regular season dropping five of their last six games. They'll still be the third seed and host the Atlanta Hawks in the first round. The Pacers have lost 11 straight games to the Hawks in Atlanta.

"I'm fired up," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "I think this team has enormous potential in the playoffs. (The Hawks) were supposed to be rebuilding, but overachieved all year and they have two of the best big men in the league in Al Horford and Josh Smith."

Swingman Gerald Green took advantage of a rare opportunity to start by scoring a career-high 34 points, which included six 3-pointers, also a career high.

"I was just trying to let the game come to me," Green said. "I was still being a little aggressive. I wish I could take some of the playoff back, some of my turnovers. Guys were finding me. But a lot of that doesn't matter. We lost the game."

The 76ers set the tone from the start by scoring the first 11 points of the game. Philadelphia led by as many 26 points. Like they have done over the past week, the Pacers didn't just fold.

They opened the fourth quarter down by 15, but the Pacers got to within seven with five minutes left in the game. Green had 10 points in the final quarter.

"Proud of our effort in the second half," Vogel said. "We played hard in the first half but we were sloppy."

The Pacers used too much energy getting back in the game, and they didn't have enough to get over the top. The Pacers were 15 of 37 from the field in the first half, but they bounced back to shoot 21 of 43 from the field in the second half.

"I think we got off to a really slow start and we didn't have the energy to dig ourselves out of the hole," Pacers power forward Tyler Hansbrough said. "Different guys, though, gave us some sparks."

NOTES: Pacers coach Frank Vogel rested four starters -- George Hill, Paul George, Roy Hibbert and David West -- against the 76ers. Hill has been dealing with a nagging groin/hip injury for three weeks. George is fatigued. Lance Stephenson was the only starter to play. He was joined by D.J. Augustin, Green, Ian Mahinmi and Hansbrough in the starting lineup. ... A 76ers spokesman told the media before the game that they could not ask Collins about the "rumors" surrounding his future with the team. There have been media reports that Collins will resign as coach. ... The Pacers have trailed by at least 20 points in six straight games. ... Stephenson was one assist short of a career high, finishing with six. ... Hansbrough is averaging 14.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in eight starts this season. ... Pacers point guard Ben Hansbrough scored a career-high 11 points.
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