Sixers eke out exhibition win in Spain

Thaddeus Young warms up before the 76ers' game in Bilbao, Spain. Young scored 14 points in the 106-104 victory to open the preseason. ALVARO BARRIENTOS / Associated Press
Thaddeus Young warms up before the 76ers' game in Bilbao, Spain. Young scored 14 points in the 106-104 victory to open the preseason. ALVARO BARRIENTOS / Associated Press
Posted: October 08, 2013

BILBAO, Spain - It began the same way Spencer Hawes' six previous preseason openers had begun.

The 76ers center was an offensive liability and - like most of his teammates - he was getting outhustled for the loose ball. But he is also the reason the Sixers defeated Bilbao Basket, 106-104, Sunday in an exhibition game at Bizkaia Arena at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre.

The 7-foot-1, 245-pounder hit a pair of foul shots that gave his team a two-point cushion with 4.89 seconds remaining. Bilbao's Raul Lopez, a former NBA guard, missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.

"I don't think I could have played any worse for the rest of the game," said Hawes, who finished with six points on 1-for-8 shooting. "I have a weird thing with the first preseason game."

For the most part, the Sixers looked like the young and inexperienced players they are. At times, their spacing was off and they struggled to help on defense. The Sixers' guard-heavy second unit brought a lot of energy but routinely was outrebounded while it was on the floor.

Bilbao battled back from a 14-point deficit and had a 95-92 lead with 4 minutes, 52 seconds left. But Hawes buried a three-pointer to knot the score and start a 12-0 run that put the Sixers up, 104-95, with 2:29 to play.

Bilbao responded with a 9-0 run. Thaddeus Young fouled German Gabriel attempting a three-pointer with 6.3 seconds to go. Gabriel made all three to knot the score at 104.

But shortly after that, Hawes stepped to the foul line and erased what had been a horrible day.

"He made amends," coach Brett Brown said, "and stepped up and made two very large free throws."

The Sixers' energy and ability to get to the free-throw line also had a lot to do with the outcome. Routinely fouled in transition, they attempted 46 free throws, making 34. Bilbao, meanwhile, hit 28 of 32.

Swingman Evan Turner and reserve guard Tony Wroten benefited the most from going to the foul line.

Turner led all scorers with 25 points while making 10 of 12 free throws. Wroten also drained 10 of 12 foul shots and finished with 16 points.

"Once we attack and get to the line, that puts pressure on the defense," Turner said. "We can find other things to occur, and that's what happened."

Newly acquired reserve post player Gani Lawal played 3:12. The 6-foot-9, 234-pounder arrived in Bilbao on Saturday night and participated in Sunday morning's shootaround. He missed his only shot and had a rebound and a turnover, and committed a personal foul.

"We made young mistakes," Turner said. "But the young guys played hard. They played tough. There's some team stuff.

"But I think we will get better and better."


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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