Spend just a little time around the 76ers, and you quickly realize that coach Doug Collins is pounding certain concepts into their heads that he wants them to internalize.
There's "66 in 123," 66 being the number of games in the season and 123 the number of days they will be forced to squeeze them into as a result of the lockout-shortened season. Another one is "five in six," a reference to playing five games in six nights, another by-product of the lockout.
Despite the fine overall conditioning of the majority of the players in the NBA, none of them is prepared for the fatigue and stress that this type of schedule - the Sixers play two sets of back-to-back-to-back games - will place on their bodies.
Teams that expect to have a chance at the playoffs, particularly those - such as the Sixers - without superstars capable of carrying a team on multiple nights, are going to rely on the bench much more than they typically would in a regular 82-game season.
"Much more," Collins said following Sunday's practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. "I told our guys that we have to have a strong, competitive will. We have to have strength in numbers and play every night."
The core of the team's bench comes back intact and, Collins said, deeper and better. Forward Thaddeus Young, who finished third in the NBA sixth man voting, is back after signing a five-year, $42 million deal. Young averaged 12.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and connected on 54 percent of his field-goal attempts. Explosive Lou Williams averaged 13.7 points off the bench and is completely accepting of his role.
Collins hasn't said so yet, but it's almost a foregone conclusion that 6-foot-7 Evan Turner will be a part of that unit, and it is a role that he has been accepting of in the exhibition season.
The perimeter reserves are pretty much set. Collins is looking to see which big men - the leading candidates are veteran Tony Battie and first-round pick Nikola Vucevic - can play regular roles when the season begins a week from Monday in Portland, Ore.
Young knows the added importance of the reserves in this sprint of a season.
"It's more condensed," Williams said. "Guys are going to break down mentally and physically, so you definitely need your bench guys to come in and take a load off your starters' back."
While it was just an exhibition game, one of the things that stood out for Collins in the victory over the Wizards on Friday was the bench's play. The Sixers led by 21 points at halftime; their bench at that juncture had outscored Washington's, 25-5.
Collins is asking everyone on the team to be mentally and physically tougher, especially the reserves.
"That's what we did last year, but that was over a longer period of time," Collins said. "This year, we have to bring the same mind-set, and we have to hope that it sort of pays dividends, that it wears on people. We have to hope that when they play us they say, 'They are not going away. It's never an easy night when you play that team.' "
And a better bench will go a long way toward making this happen.
Scrimmage. The Sixers held a free scrimmage Sunday night at the Palestra following the morning practice at PCOM.
The scrimmage, which lasted for about two hours, drew a crowd that team officials estimated at 2,500. At the conclusion of the session, the players tossed T-shirts into the stands. Later, the players signed autographs and posed for pictures.