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Old 01-13-2012, 10:02 AM   #1
insidehoops
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Default Sixers are 7-3, looking terrific early

While their 7-3 record is due more to their stingy defense and the players' buying into the team-first philosophy, the Sixers have benefited from facing shorthanded teams. Detroit didn't have its starting backcourt; Monta Ellis missed the Golden State game for his grandmother's funeral; and Marcus Thornton (Sacramento), Al Jefferson (Utah), and Danny Granger (Indiana), key players all, missed their team's games vs. the Sixers.

The Sixers, who play home-and-away games with Washington (1-9) on Friday and Saturday, got a taste of this Wednesday at New York, when they showed up without starting center Spencer Hawes. Hawes (lower-back strain) is a game-time decision for Friday night.

If Hawes is unavailable Friday, Collins will probably again go with Tony Battie as the starter and back him up with rookie Nikola Vucevic.

-- Philadelphia Inquirer
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