Sixers try to fight through dog days of season

Sixers try to fight through dog days of season
January 12, 2013, 12:39 am
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The Sixers had an optional practice on Friday, and with the exception of Kwame Brown who is away from the team because of a personal matter, everyone attended.
You know optional practices arent really that optional, Spencer Hawes said. Anybody who has been around knows what they are. Everyone was here today and I think it was productive.
The Sixers have lost five straight heading into Saturdays home game against Houston. The Sixers are just 9-8 at home this season.
Hawes thinks the lack of home cooking has to do with the roster turnover from the previous two seasons when the Sixers were a combined 16 games above .500 at the Wells Fargo Center.
Sometimes teams take years to materialize; some teams never do, Hawes said. I think we are getting there. I think the last four games it is hard to take anything from it because they all have been blowouts, but before that we were playing pretty good basketball. We won a couple. We lost a couple down the stretch, but coming back home gives a chance to get some rest and find ourselves.
These are kind of the dog days of the season. It is January. Its before the All-Star break. We have had four back-to-backs in a row, so it is good to have yesterday to get refreshed but also when you are going through stretches like this, it is good to get away from it a little bit and get your mind refreshed as well.
Over the last 16 games -- only three of which have been Sixers wins -- the teams has averaged 91 points and given up 100 a night. Hawes believes the Sixers are caught in a vicious cycle.
It is all related. When you are playing better on offense and everyone is hitting shots, then everyone plays a little harder on defense, Hawes said. And vice versa when you are getting stops on the other end. I think if we can get back to having that mindset on the offensive end, it will manifest itself on defense in unselfishness.The NBA trade deadline is six weeks away, but general manager Tony DiLeo will only make a move if it makes sense for the long haul. He would prefer to see this roster play as intended with Andrew Bynum elevating the play of those perimeter players the Sixers assembled this offseason.
I think they can be effective without Andrew. We saw that earlier in the season, DiLeo said. We are struggling right now as a team as a whole, but of course with Andrew on the court they will be more effective because more attention will be centered on Andrew and they should get better looks and wide open shots.
The Sixers hope more open shots will translate into more buckets with the team currently averaging 92.2 points per game (27th in the league).
DiLeo said he is still looking at Bynum as a long-term solution despite the center missing the entire season to this point while he continues to rehab his ailing knees.
We made the trade and we built the team around him, but that is one of the questions we still have to answer, DiLeo said. We have options if it doesnt work out. We have Plan B, different options that we will continue to explore.
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