Spencer Hawes a bright spot for dismal Sixers

Spencer Hawes grabs a rebound in front of Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Spencer Hawes grabs a rebound in front of Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 30, 2013

Although the 76ers have recently turned in some of their best performances of the season and ended a 15-game road losing streak, the bottom line is that just 11 games remain until the playoffs, and the Sixers are on the outside looking in.

On the bright side, the Sixers' 100-92 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday prevented the Bucks from sweeping the season series from the Sixers.

Also, the Sixers, who play at Cleveland on Friday night at 7:30, have gotten great play from center Spencer Hawes. He has been playing the best basketball of any Sixer over the last few weeks and possibly the best basketball of his career.

Since going scoreless in an 0-for-9 shooting performance against Golden State on March 2, Hawes has averaged 14.7 points and made just a shade under 54 percent of his shots. He has averaged 10.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

During that 14-game stretch, Hawes has tallied eight of his 16 double-doubles this season. In his previous two seasons with the Sixers, Hawes had just 15 double-doubles.

Thanks largely to Hawes, the Sixers are 4-3 in their last seven games. During that stretch, in a seven-point victory over Indiana, Hawes had  the best game of  his career, with 18 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists, and 7 blocks.

The last player to match or exceed those numbers in a game was Houston's Hakeem Olajuwon in 1990. The last Sixer to post such numbers was Charles Barkley in 1986.

"With Spencer . . . every night it's been 15, 16, 17 points and double-digit rebounds," coach Doug Collins said. "Spencer is a really, really good player."

Hawes knows that the Sixers' chances of reaching the postseason are slim. However, he and some of the other players have openly talked about the importance of finishing this season strong so as to have a positive launch point for the 2013-14 season.

"You don't just stop playing because of the circumstances," Hawes said.


Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.

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