How JJ Redick stays loose on the bench

How JJ Redick stays loose on the bench

MIAMI — Some people do Pilates to jump-start their day. Others, in the evening to unwind. JJ Redick does them on the bench during NBA games.

Redick dealt with back issues earlier in his career. He got the go-ahead to lie on the floor instead of the bench during games starting in the lockout season.

Redick incorporates different Pilates exercises to prevent tightness.

“I do the hundreds,” Redick said. “I do some rolling like a ball. There's a sort of abbreviated versions of series of fives, so I kind of mix it all up.”

Redick also uses a foam roller when he’s on the sidelines. After 12 years in the NBA, the 33-year-old Sixers shooting guard understands his body. 

“If you lay down on the hardwood floor for 15 to 20 minutes you can get stiff,” he said. “It was just a way to stay loose and keep everything activated.”

Redick is aware of what it takes to play his 31.4 minutes, and over 28 for the last six seasons. He works in specific drills during his pregame warmups as well as right before he checks in the game. Redick can be seen quickly running in place when he gets to the scorer’s table.

“I usually do it if I've been on the bench for four to six minutes of game time,” Redick said. “Sometimes that can be 20 minutes of real time. I just use it to sort of wake up. It's more of a neurological thing than a muscle thing. It's just getting all the synapses firing.”

These exercises help Redick stay firing on the court. He is averaging 16.7 points and shooting 40.8 percent from three as a key piece in the Sixers' playoff push. 

A breakdown of Eastern Conference playoff outlook for Sixers

A breakdown of Eastern Conference playoff outlook for Sixers

The Sixers are fighting to lock in home-court advantage in the postseason. That quest could be just as affected by their Eastern Conference opponents as their own wins and losses.

Let's take a look at the remaining schedule of the top-eight teams in the East and how those games and injuries could impact the playoffs. 

1. Raptors (53-19)
• Top-eight Eastern Conference opponents: Celtics (2), Cavs, Pacers, Heat

• Top-eight Western Conference opponents: None

The Raptors have a 4½-game lead over the Celtics, a distance that should be enough to lock up the No. 1 seed because of the Celtics injuries (see below). 

2. Celtics (48-23)
• Top-eight Eastern Conference opponents: Raptors (2), Bucks, Wizards

• Top-eight Western Conference opponents: Trail Blazers, Jazz

The Celtics’ playoff future is left hinging on the health of Kyrie Irving, who is seeking a second opinion for a nagging knee issue. Marcus Smart is eyeing a return for the playoffs after undergoing thumb surgery.

3. Cavaliers (42-29)
• Top-eight Eastern Conference opponents: Raptors, Heat, Wizards, Sixers 

• Top-eight Western Conference opponents: Pelicans

LeBron James has sat toward the end of the regular season to gear up for the playoffs, which could impact the standings in the final games if the Cavs cannot win without him.

4. Sixers (40-30)
• Top-eight Eastern Conference opponents: Cavaliers, Bucks

• Top-eight Western Conference opponents: Timberwolves

The Sixers' schedule is packed with sub-.500 teams, putting their hunt for home-court advantage in their own hands to grab.

5. Pacers (41-31)
• Top-eight Eastern Conference opponents: Heat, Raptors

• Top-eight Western Conference opponents: Warriors (2)

The Pacers' remaining schedule is unforgiving, including a West Coast road trip with a stop in Oakland. 

6. Wizards (40-31)
• Top-eight Eastern Conference opponents: Cavaliers, Celtics 

• Top-eight Western Conference opponents: Spurs, Rockets

The Wizards have turned heads with their success in spite of the absence of John Wall. How his return impacts the team is worth watching.

7. Heat (39-33)
• Top-eight Eastern Conference opponents: Pacers, Cavaliers, Raptors

• Top-eight Western Conference opponents: Thunder (2)

Keep an eye on the Heat’s two games against the Thunder, including one on the road, as OKC vies for home court in a Western Conference race.

8. Bucks (37-34)
• Top-eight Eastern Conference opponents: Celtics, Sixers 

• Top-eight Western Conference opponents: Spurs, Warriors

The Bucks’ final game of the regular season in Philadelphia could shake up the Eastern Conference seedings on April 11.    

Western Conference streaks give Sixers a boost

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Western Conference streaks give Sixers a boost

SAN ANTONIO -- LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and nine rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth straight, 98-90 over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

San Antonio remained in sixth place in the Western Conference, one-half game behind fourth-place Oklahoma City. The Spurs close out a six-game homestand on Friday against Utah, which is 1 games behind San Antonio in eighth place.

Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. each had 21 points to lead the Wizards, who dropped into sixth in the Eastern Conference.

San Antonio's winning streak follows a 3-11 skid that briefly dropped the Spurs out of playoff position.

Aldridge has been critical to the turnaround, averaging 29.6 points and 9.2 rebounds during the streak.

Against Washington, Aldridge scored nine points during a 23-9 run that gave San Antonio a 17-point lead with four minutes left in the third quarter.

Without injured All-Star John Wall, the Wizards were unable to answer (see full recap).

Davis, Pelicans outlast Pacers for 3rd straight win
NEW ORLEANS -- Anthony Davis capped a 28-point, 13-rebound, five-block performance with a 15-foot baseline fade, a gritty put-back and two free throws in the final minute, and the New Orleans Pelicans outlasted the Indiana Pacers 96-92 on Wednesday night.

E'Twaun Moore scored 23 for New Orleans, which had to overcome a scrappy defensive effort by Indiana to win its third straight.

The Pelicans, who average nearly 112 points per game, were limited to 43 percent (34 of 79) accuracy by the Pacers, who also turned 20 New Orleans turnovers into 15 points.

The Pacers shot only 36.6 percent (34 of 93), but kept the game close with 15 offensive rebounds and 17 second-chance points.

Neither team led by more than six, and the game was tied at 87 with 1:49 left, after Victor Oladipo's block of Jrue Holiday sent Darren Collison away for a fast-break layup as he was fouled by Moore.

Moore put back his own miss with 1:24 to play to put the Pelicans back in front, and after Oladipo was called for a travel with 1:12 to go, Davis hit his clutch fade in front of the Pacers' bench, holding his right arm up triumphantly as the shot went down (see full recap).

Howard has historic night in Hornets’ comeback
NEW YORK -- Dwight Howard had 32 points and 30 rebounds, becoming the first player with a 30-30 game against the Nets since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1978, and the Charlotte Hornets stormed back to beat Brooklyn 111-105 on Wednesday night.

Kemba Walker scored 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter for the Hornets, who trailed by as many 23 points in the second half to win in front of an announced crowd of 10,231 at Barclay Center while a heavy snowfall outside blanketed the New York City area.

Trailing 105-102 with 2:14 left in regulation, the Hornets went on a 9-0 run to pull off the impressive comeback.

Jeremy Lamb, who had 17 points to help end Charlotte's two-game losing streak, made a layup to cut the deficit to 105-104. The Hornets then called a timeout after a miss by Caris LeVert with 23 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Walker spun around Quincy Acy and capped a three-point play to put Charlotte up 107-105, the Hornets' first lead of the night since a 16-15 advantage with 5:46 in the opening quarter.

LeVert missed a chance to tie it when he was met by Howard under the basket. Howard then hit a pair of free throws to make it 109-105.

D'Angelo Russell scored 19 points and LeVert added 11 for the Nets, whose two-game winning streak was cut short. They have yet to have won three consecutive this season (see full recap).