SIXERS' DAMIEN WILKINS, ON ENDING SKID: "THAT'S WHEN YOUR MANHOOD, SO TO SPEAK, HAS TO KICK IN"
Damien Wilkins doesn't shy from speaking the truth. He knows the Sixers have the tendency to show effort in games like Monday's, a 106-97 win over Brooklyn, than in games like Sunday's, against a bottom-feeding bunch in Orlando.
“Record-wise, we're not necessarily a good team, either,” Wilkins said, after scoring 13 points against the Nets. “We should want to play hard every night. Even if we're the No. 1 seed in the East, we all should strive to work hard every night. That's what we owe to ourselves, owe to our fans, to our organization. You can't teach effort. I think we have guys in this locker room who want to go out there and play hard every night. It's just a matter of us doing it.”
In a politically correct way, Wilkins made it clear that wins against a team like Brooklyn can be contagious. And the Sixers' schedule certainly doesn't do them any favors, with dates the rest of this week against Eastern Conference contenders Miami and Indiana looming.
Yet, Wilkins understands that accepting a losing attitude – while easier – isn't most satisfactory.
“That's when your manhood, so to speak, has to kick in. And your pride,” Wilkins said. “You want to win for the guy next to you. If you don't want to win for the guy next to you, you should want to win for yourself. I know, for me, it's certainly frustrating to lose.
“I don't even want to walk around Philadelphia in Sixers gear when we're losing like this because, as you know, the fans here are honest and they don't bite their tongue. They deserve a good team, they deserve effort and we deserve to show that for ourselves.”
Against the Nets, they got effort. Translating that into win streaks, which have eluded the Sixers in stretches this season, is something altogether different. But quitting on the season isn't an option, according to Wilkins.
“That's the easy thing to do, and that's humane to always do things the easy way. It's tough to keep coming back and fighting, to keep giving everything you've got every day and trying to win games,” Wilkins said. “It's tough when you're in a slump like we've been. We've been spiraling downhill lately so it is. It's hard to pick yourself back up and get motivated because you fall into that attitude of, 'Maybe we're not going to win the next game.' You don't think positive about winning the next game. And like I said, it's humane to do that in professional sports. The toughest thing to do is coming in motivating, wanting to compete, wanting to win. Humans don't always do the hard things.”