Sixers sense turnaround as Bynum gets closer

Sixers sense turnaround as Bynum gets closer
January 29, 2013, 8:15 pm
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It became clear on Tuesday exactly what Andrew Bynum is doing to get back on the job.

Bynum runs on the treadmill. He is doing various side-stepping combinations using a floor ladder and is shooting from different spots on the floor. The center is also working on footwork and testing his range.

“He said he is pain free, which is good,” Sixers head coach Doug Collins said.

When Bynum was on the treadmill, Collins was working out alongside of him on the elliptical machine.

“You know he hasn't played in eight months,” Collins said. “For a guy his size, you have to take small steps. You cannot just throw him out there and give him a crash course because it will set him back.

“You can feel in his demeanor that he is feeling a lot better about it. You just have to get that balance back, that strength, and all that goes with being a player. There is a lot of stuff ahead of him, but it's all moving in the right direction."

The Sixers will face a team that has experienced a similar season to their own on Wednesday when they face the Washington Wizards. The Wizards come to town with just 11 wins. Yet, up until 10 games ago, they were playing without former No. 1 overall pick John Wall, who was sidelined with a left knee injury.

“As a coach, you are sitting over there getting beat and you are hearing whispers about when are you getting fired,” Collins said of what the Wizards’ staff might have experienced.

“I am proud of what Ernie (Grunfeld) did for Randy (Wittman), giving him a chance to coach his team when they are fully healthy. I think they are showing what he is. They are playing good defense. They have speed, they have depth and they are playing good basketball.

"When you are without that guy and you are losing, it is hard. It is really hard."

Both teams are playing better basketball, or as Collins likes to say, winning basketball. However, the Sixers continue to make losing plays at critical times of games.

Collins experienced the same scenario with his first Sixers team, a group that turned a 3-13 start to the season into a playoff berth.

“I don't know how many guys play golf, but when you play closest to the pin on par threes you don't get the greenie unless you make the putt,” Collins explained. “You have to validate. We have to start validating. Our guys are playing hard, and I think we are a together group."

"As a unit, we are just trying to get closer and through tough times, try to stick together,” Evan Turner said.

The Sixers hope to have the final piece of their team in Bynum on the court more often than not as they embark on the final 38 games of the regular season together.

“I think he will be fine," Turner said of Bynum. “As long as you are aggressive like he is and have a mean streak like he has, I mean I am not a big man but he can just turn around and dunk the ball and you rebound.

“Before he got hurt he was the best big man in the game, so I am pretty sure when he comes back he will probably be one or two.”

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