Spencer Hawes gets first start of season

Spencer Hawes gets first start of season
January 26, 2013, 7:15 pm
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Looking for any type of spark in order to mend their losing ways, Sixers’ coach Doug Collins juggled his starting lineup for Saturday night’s game against the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center.

Out of the lineup is Lavoy Allen, who had started the last 16 games at center for Collins. In is Spencer Hawes, last year’s starting center who had taken on a reserve role this year. After spending the last 42 games adjusting to life as a bench player, Hawes is back to where he started.

“You have to have a different kind of mindset,” Hawes said about starting as compared to coming off the bench. “At the end of the day, if you’re starting, you can get into the flow a little bit. But with the way we’ve been starting out games, we have to have the mindset that we’re five guys coming off the bench and we have to get going right away or else we put ourselves in a deep hole.”

Also in the starting lineup is Nick Young, taking the place of veteran shooter Jason Richardson, who will miss his third straight game with an achy left knee. With both Hawes and Young in the starting five, the Sixers have very little scoring punch coming off the bench.

Then again, desperate times call for desperate measures. In the last 10 games the Sixers have won just twice and since the last time they won two in a row on Nov. 30, they are 7-19.

“We’ve won 10 first quarters all year out of 42, which is second-worst in the NBA,” Collins said. “We are 10-1 when we win or tie the first quarter, so I’m hoping we get off to a fast start. Will that work? I don’t know, but I’m going to try.”

With Allen as the starter, the Sixers have struggled. Moreover, Allen’s production has been mediocre to say the least. In his last 12 games, Allen has attempted just four foul shots and hasn’t been to the foul line at all in the last four games.

Still, Collins has not leaned on his bench for much this year even with Hawes and Young providing some semblance of an offensive spark. Last year Collins turned to Evan Turner, Thad Young and Lou Williams to come off the bench and deliver scoring, defense and energy, but this year the Sixers’ bench averages just 29.4 points per game. That’s 21st in the NBA.

Last year they were first in the East with 38.8 points per game.

“Our bench is not like you go to it for scoring,” Collins said. “Last year we had 40 points coming off the bench, but three of those guys are starting. I don’t know if it’s going to work, but I gotta try.”

Collins doesn’t have too many more lineups to tinker with … that is until Andrew Bynum returns.

“Well, I hope I get one more,” Collins said. “I hope I get that chance.”