Sixers use yoga to prepare for Wizards

Posted: January 25, 2012

What's next for these 76ers? Chamomile tea breaks at noon?

Well, if the results are similar to what they're getting from yoga sessions, why not?

One day after beating the Washington Wizards for the third time this season (the fifth if you count the two preseason victories), Sixers coach Doug Collins felt comfortable enough to chat briefly with the team, and then leave them to stretch and work out the kinks in their bodies under the watchful eye of a yoga instructor rather than run a practice. Collins then disappeared to get his heart rate up on one of the elliptical machines at the team's training facility on the campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

This is how the 12-5 Atlantic Division leaders spent their Tuesday practice. When the session - the 76ers' second as a team this season - ended, a few of them got in some light shooting and then they were gone.

It is a sign that the Sixers are maturing as a team. And it is also a sign that the coach trusts his players and has a very good read on them.

"You work together so much that when you give them time to get away from the coaches and talk amongst themselves you know they are doing positive things with that time," Collins said of the Sixers, 9-1 at home this season with a home game with (5-13) New Jersey on Wednesday night. "I really trust our guys. Our guys want to win the Atlantic Division, there's no question about it. I think our guys are going to really keep focused."

In what will be the second of seven consecutive homes games, starting center Spencer Hawes (strained left Achilles) and his backup, rookie Nik Vucevic (strained left knee/quadriceps), likely will not play Wednesday. This would be the fifth game Hawes has missed. Vucevic may miss his second game after injuring himself in Miami over the weekend.

Collins said Vucevic is closer to rejoining the team than is Hawes.

"I don't think there has been a big change over the last few days," Collins said. "I could see Nik being back before Spencer. Nik I think is getting better. He's able to bend a little bit easier. That Achilles is a very tricky thing. But talking to [trainer Kevin Johnson], I think [Hawes has] still got a ways to go."

Neither player was missed much against a Washington team that allowed the Sixers to post a season-high 62 points in the first half.

Less than 24 hours after the Sixers defeated Washington the Wizards fired coach Flip Saunders. As bad as the Wizards were under Saunders (2-15), it was a testament to where the Sixers are that the beating they administered to the Wizards minus two key players forced the Washington front office to cut ties with Saunders.

"I think it shows that we play well together as a team," Andre Iguodala said. "One guy falls out and we just plug another guy in. I think it's a testament to our coaches as well to have guys who are ready to play when they are not expecting to play."

Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at Follow him on Twitter @deepsixer3

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