Boos greet Hawes in return to Sacramento


Boos greet Hawes in return to Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Spencer Hawes was met with resounding boos from the Kings’ crowd when he was introduced with the Sixers’ starting lineup on Thursday night.

Not the kind of reception you would expect for a player that was selected 10th overall by the franchise in the 2007 draft and played the first three seasons of his NBA career here.

However, Hawes became public enemy No. 1 to Kings fans when he spoke out last year about wanting the team to relocate to his hometown of Seattle.

“I won't make any qualms about where I stand,” Hawes said at the time, via the Sacramento Bee. “I want to see my hometown get a franchise. There is some confliction, but I'm not going to beat around the bush about what my stance is.”

In the end, the Kings were purchased by a new ownership group and ended up staying put in Sacramento.

Either way, Hawes says no hard feelings.

“This has always been a great place to play, a great building with great fan support,” Hawes said prior to the Sixers' 113-104 win over the Kings (see Instant Replay). “The fans were phenomenal through the ups and downs, so it is fun to come back here.”

Hawes finished the game with 10 points and seven rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Four years have passed since Hawes last wore a Kings uniform. He is now putting up career numbers in a contract year with the Sixers and his head coach is hoping to find ways to squeeze even more out of the 25-year-old.

“Offensively we need to tap into what he can do in relation to his ability to stretch the floor and his ability to run,” Brett Brown said.

Hawes has definitely showcased his ability to be a deep threat this season. He is averaging 14.8 points per game and shooting 44.1 percent from three-point range.

That percentage from long range is tops among all NBA centers and 10th in the league overall. Hawes has attempted 118 three-pointers; his nearest competitor at the position is Charlotte’s Anthony Tolliver, who has attempted 78 shots from behind the arc.

For Hawes, who at 7-1 and 245 pounds still manages to run the floor well as Brown pointed out, experience has taught him how to move around the court consistently.

“As you get on with your years in the NBA you realize it's not as much what you do on a daily basis during the season but it is the preparation beforehand that really leads to staying injury-free and being out there,” Hawes said. “When Coach came in guys took his message to heart and it is paying dividends now as we get on in the season.”

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade scored 22 points in a triumphant Chicago debut, Jimmy Butler had 24 and the Bulls won their season opener, beating the Boston Celtics 105-99 on Thursday night.

Wade nailed a 3 from the corner in the final minute to make it a five-point game. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the new-look Bulls got off to a winning start after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points. Avery Bradley had 16, and Jae Crowder 14 points, but the Celtics came up short after opening with a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

The Bulls remade their roster in the offseason, jettisoning one hometown superstar and welcoming another when they traded Derrick Rose to New York and signed Wade to a two-year deal worth about $47 million in a move that stunned Miami.

The three-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star is off to a good start with the Bulls after 13 seasons with the Heat.

Wade hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in this game after making just seven all of last season (see full recap).

New-look Hawks roll past Wizards
ATLANTA -- Dwight Howard dominated the boards in his Atlanta debut, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 victory over the Washington Wizards in their season opener Thursday night.

Howard grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks expected from their new center, and it certainly wasn't unusual for three-time All-Star Millsap to lead the way in scoring.

But Hardaway's performance was totally unexpected given the way he struggled in his first season with the Hawks, when he was largely confined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, matching his high in an Atlanta uniform, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 heading to the final period, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the final 12 minutes (see full recap).

Report: Sixers exec Jason Wiley led meeting on national anthem issue

Report: Sixers exec Jason Wiley led meeting on national anthem issue

The Sixers' meeting on Thursday to address the national anthem situation on opening night was led by VP of Content and Integrated Marketing Jason Wiley, John Gonzalez reported.

Wiley and team executives decided not to have Sevyn Streeter perform the national anthem because she wore a "We Matter" shirt, according to the report. The team had concerns Streeter would have further protests. 

A member of the Sixers' dance team performed in her place.

Wiley helped book Streeter, according to the report, and had previously worked for Bad Boy Records and had music industry contacts.

CBS3 reported Thursday that Streeter had signed a contract that barred her from making a political statement during the performance (see story).

The Sixers discussed the incident and are considering options on how to address it (see story).

“I think the team, not only do we want to speak up on the matter that happened yesterday, but I feel like we’re now starting to push, like it’s not just about saying something, it’s about making a difference,” Nik Stauskas said. “It’s about going out there and doing something. So we don’t really know what we’re going to do yet, but I know a lot of guys on this team are eager to go out there and make a difference one way or another.”