WHEN THINGS IN LIFE aren't going well in one area, sometimes it's good to get away and concentrate on something else.
Same thing in sports.
Nothing has gone well for Sixers center Spencer Hawes lately. His offense has been pretty much nonexistent and his inability to defend has kept him on the bench for the majority of games.
His backup, Marreese Speights, one of the best big-man scorers off the bench in the NBA, lost his jumper - and confidence - sometime between training camp and the start of the season, and swingman Thaddeus Young has suffered through a slump that has lasted almost a year now.
Last night, at the Wells Fargo Center, against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks, those three found plenty of ways to remain occupied and contribute to the team's 90-79 victory, its third win of the season.
Hawes was active throughout the night, keeping rebounds alive, sliding over to help defensively and going after the ball as if it always belonged to him. He finished with nine points and seven rebounds while playing a season-high 25 minutes.
Speights still struggled with his shooting, making only one of seven from the floor, but he pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds and was part of a group that held Bucks center Andrew Bogut to only four points and six rebounds.
And Young had his fifth straight double-figure scoring game, going for a game-high 23 points as the Sixers improved to 3-10. Young's activeness showed in the box score as he went to the foul line eight times, making seven, and also grabbed six rebounds.
"I just look to be a spark off the bench, go out there and play defense and try to help pick up the intensity level of the game," Young said. "They are getting me in the right positions, and my teammates have been great trying to get me to the right spot at the right time, so I can go to the basket or get fouled and get to the free throw line."
When Young drives to the basket, good things come to him, as opposed to when he's spotting up for jump shots. One play that summed up his night was in the fourth quarter when Young drove hard along the baseline to the basket, only to be met by three Bucks defenders. Young still powered through and, though the ball was knocked from his hands a few feet from the basket, the momentum carried the ball in and Young made the ensuing foul shot.
Sometimes when you're doing what you do best, those things happen.
That's why even though they are struggling offensively right now, Hawes and Speights are trying to do other things on the court.
"I think I'm doing a better job of just trying to get into a rhythm and work hard and get myself involved earlier in the games," Hawes said. "I figured that I need to do other things when my shot isn't falling. I know I didn't get drafted because of my defensive abilities, to say the least. I made a concerted effort to do other things, and I think I've improved in that area. Tonight, I knew that I had a big challenge in Bogut, so I got down there and battled with him and looked at that as my way to contribute. Scoring for me will come. The biggest thing for me is staying out there and contributing in other ways."
One of the team's most consistent scorers this season, backup guard Lou Williams has struggled with his shot since injuring his left shoulder on a drive to the basket at Oklahoma City last week. Since then, he had shot only 7-for-29. Last night, like many of his teammates, he shook off that rust. Williams poured in 19 points, none bigger than his three-pointer with 1 minute, 38 seconds remaining in the game to put the Sixers back up by 11.
On a night when reliable Elton Brand was limited to four points because of foul trouble, others were able to fill that hole.
"Thaddeus, coming off the bench, was incredible," Brand said. "He hit the shots when we needed. Mo Speights had  rebounds, played some good 'D' on Bogut, and he was awesome for us. Our bench played great.
"That's what [Speights] needs to do and that's what he's doing - blocking shots, trying to take charges and anything else that will come. He's playing hard out there. While he's out there some more, he'll get some easy [baskets] and then his confidence will skyrocket."
The team could certainly use a boost like that.
It still looks as if forward Andre Iguodala, who sat for the fifth time in seven games last night with tendinitis in his right Achilles' tendon, will try to play Tuesday when the team travels to Washington . . . Milwaukee shot 0-for-12 on three-pointers. It marked the first time a Sixers opponent has not made a three since Nov. 7, 2007, when the Charlotte Bobcats went 0-for-13 in a 94-63 loss in Philadelphia . . . The Sixers also play next week on Wednesday at Toronto, on Friday in Miami and at home against New Jersey on Saturday. *
For more Sixers coverage, read the
Daily News' Sixers blog, Sixerville, at
Follow him on Twitter at