The following storylines were ones that emerged from the Sixers’ morning shootaround on Monday, April 10th. They play the Milwaukee Bucks at The Center at 7:00 PM EST.
• For the Sixers’ final home appearance of the season, Dario Saric will stick to the 24-minute playing time guideline that has been assigned to him for the team’s previous four outings. The Rookie of the Year candidate seemed to find a nice groove in Saturday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, scoring 14 points on 6 for 12 shooting. He also hauled in eight rebounds, and handed out four assists.
Gerald Henderson and Tiago Splitter will both be available to play Monday as well.
• The Sixers, showing signs of promise and progress throughout the 2016-2017 campaign, enjoyed a nice bump in attendance this year. Heading into Monday’s home finale, the club was drawing 17,398 fans per appearance at The Center, a crowd that grew by roughly 2,500 compared to last season.
Richaun Holmes expressed appreciation for the support following Monday’s shootaround.
“It’s meant a lot,” said the second-year big man, who’s coming off his fifth double-double of the season, after posting 17 points and 10 rebounds Saturday versus Milwaukee. “They’ve cheered for us throughout some of the toughest circumstances, just kept us going, kept us fighting. They’re the greatest fans in the world. Definitely needed tonight.”
The Sixers will take the floor Monday aiming to produce at least one victory from their current four-game homestand. On the other side, however, Indiana figures to be hungry. A win and / or losses by Chicago or Miami will ensure the Pacers a berth in the post-season.
“We’re going out there, we’re going to play hard,” Holmes said. “That’s a team fighting for a playoff spot, so they’re going to come in with a chip on their shoulders as well. We have to try to match their energy, go out and compete, and do the best we can to get a win.”
• With Monday marking the Sixers’ 41st and final home outing of the year, it also meant that their morning shootaround session in Camden, New Jersey would their last one for quite some time.
In October, after conducting training camp just outside Atlantic City at Stockton University this past fall, the Sixers’ occupied their brand training complex on a full-time basis. The building provided players with plenty of amenities and resources for basketball skill development, strength and conditioning, medical treatment, and nutrition.
The move, according to Richaun Holmes, paid dividends.
“It helps us bounce-back, recover, work on what we need to work on, develop more,” he said. “It’s been great.”
The new facility allowed the Sixers to increase the efficiency and expand the scope of their on-court work throughout the year, thanks to two full-sized practice courts. Previously, the Sixers had been limited to just one court.
“Just be able to come in here, get shots up, take care of your body, different things you can do,” said Holmes. “They put a lot of work, a lot of money into this facility, and we definitely don’t take it for granted.”
• The ride for Justin Anderson this season has been kind of a crazy one. With two games remaining on the 2016-2017 slate, the small forward still hasn’t taken part in a formal, full-fledged five-on-five practice session with the Sixers since being traded from Dallas on February 23rd, and he won’t, at least until next year.
Over the past month, the team’s schedule has been so densely packed with games, and its travel itinerary so demanding that its basketball-related activities have essentially been limited to shootarounds only.
Nevertheless, Anderson has tried his best to fit into a new system, and contribute.
“Just looking back on it, the shootarounds have helped a lot, which have helped me kind of translate over to the game,” he said. “Just trying to do my best to just bring the most energy I can bring each night out, and try to just hang my hat on the strong suits of my game. I can only imagine what it’ll be like when I kind of get to go with the guys more.”