Doug Collins

While the Raptors are spending the final week of the regular season evaluating their young players and making vacation plans, the Sixers are a half-game behind the Knicks in the battle for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers are one of the feel-good stories of the 2010-11 season, battling back from a 3-13 start to the point where they’re on the verge of finishing over .500 for the first time since the 2004-05 season.

A lot of the credit should go to head coach Doug Collins for his team’s improvement from 24th in the league in Defensive Efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) to eighth overall this season. Too bad so few Philly fans seem to care — they’re 26th in the NBA in team attendance.

Injury report

Toronto: Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon are out tonight, while Amir Johnson and Leandro Barbosa are gametime decisions.

Philadelphia: Louis Williams is expected to miss the rest of the season with “a dead leg” while Andre Iguodala is probable with a sore knee.

Five questions

1. In the first full week of every month this season, I posted my top 10 power rankings for each of the five NBA positions — a Toronto Raptor never made any of the rankings. Do you think one of the Raptors deserves to be considered top 10 at his position?

2. Who is likely to get more awards love: Doug Collins for Coach of the Year or Andre Iguodala for Defensive Player of the Year? (Note: I know neither player will win, I’m wondering who is more worthy to be in the conversation.)

3. Why does Marreese Speights only play 11.4 minutes per game when he averages 16.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per 36 minutes?

4. Should the fact that the Raptors rank last in the NBA in payroll efficiency be taken into account when MLSE decides whether or not to extend Bryan Colangelo’s contract?

5. Did you catch Taco Trey Kerby’s “Texts from Doug Collins” post from last week? It’s pretty, pretty, pretty good.

Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet One
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jerryd Bayless, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson
Philadelphia: Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes

Tonight’s pregame song is “The Seed (2.0)” by The Roots, who are from Philly, dontcha know.

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