76ers Notes

It's an innate reaction.

When fans see their team's center creeping out toward the three-point line, they groan in frustration.

After all, shouldn't the centerpiece of the lineup stay near the center of the action?

Before Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers, 76ers coach Doug Collins pleaded with the fans to give center Spencer Hawes a longer leash than they might have given last season's center, Samuel Dalembert, or most other centers.

"Spencer is a very good outside shooter, and I think the perception is, 'Get in there and pound that into the paint,' " Collins explained. "We want Spencer to mix his game up."

Entering Friday night's game, Hawes was shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from beyond the arc. For the season, Hawes is averaging 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds a game, but in recent weeks those numbers have been about 50 percent higher.

"We feel like Spencer has a real advantage when he steps on the floor," said Collins, noting Hawes' ability to stretch another 7-foot defender all the way to the three-point line.

"I'm sending love to the Philly fans to keep cheering for Spencer," Collins said. "If he misses a couple of those, just understand that the old coach doesn't mind him shooting some of those."

Hawes suffered a sprained ankle in the third quarter Friday night. An X-ray found no problems, and Hawes is expected to play Saturday night at the Orlando Magic.

An ovation for Vick

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick arrived at the Wells Fargo Center late in the third quarter of Friday night's game.

As Vick was escorted to his seat, many in the sellout crowd began chanting "MVP."

He sat courtside, made a brief appearance on the Jumbotron with teammate DeSean Jackson, and left midway through the fourth quarter.

On the road again

The Sixers will not play again at the Wells Fargo Center until after the new year. Their trip - eight games over 17 days - will cover about 9,300 air miles.

A first for Smith

There aren't many NBA teams for which Joe Smith hasn't played, but until Friday night, the Lakers were one of them. Smith, 35, who has played for 12 NBA teams, was activated Friday night for the first time since being traded to Los Angeles from the New Jersey Nets.


Collins maintained the inactive list he had used for the previous few games: rookie Craig Brackins and forward Jason Kapono.

- Kate Fagan