Center Spencer Hawes learned to slow down in order to pick up his offensive game. To do that, he spent time with the 76ers second unit and had plenty of conversations with his family and coaches.
It was obvious on Sunday that Hawes has learned his lesson.
For the second straight home game, Hawes was a major offensive factor as he scored 22 points in the Sixers' 89-82 win over the Chicago Bulls. That left the Sixers just one game away from closing out the Bulls in the series and provided Hawes with a needed jolt of confidence.
Sunday's game came on the heels of his performance on Friday when Hawes scored 21 points in the Sixers 79-74 win.
How rare are back-to-back games of 20 or more points for Hawes? Before these two he had never scored more than 19 points in a game in his two seasons with the Sixers.
And the last time he had consecutive 20-point games was in 2009 as a member of the Sacramento Kings. On Oct. 31, 2009, he scored 22 points in a loss to San Antonio. On Nov. 2, 2009, he scored 21 points in a win over Memphis.
And it's all about slowing down.
"It is something my dad has been telling me since high school, to slow down, and you don't have to play as fast," Hawes said, referring to his father, Jeff, a former University of Washington player. "It is finally starting to resonate, and I kind of figured it out, and it took me a while."
Sixers coach Doug Collins see it, too.
"When Spencer plays in a rhythm, he's . . . good," Collins said.
Hawes will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, and he had a frustrating regular season. He missed 29 games due to injuries.
In also spent time with the second unit late in the season and was a reserve in the opening 103-91 loss in this series to the Bulls. After that, Hawes was inserted in the starting lineup, and the Sixers are 3-0 since.
"After Game 1, I thought I could jump-start him by putting him back in the starting lineup," Collins said. "Sometimes you have to know a guy's psyche."
Hawes didn't like the move to the bench.
"We have a lot of pride, and it was frustrating," he said.
Yet he kept working, and Sunday he hit 9 of 11 shots from the field and added eight rebounds.
Most notable was a three-point field goal on a play that broke down at the halftime buzzer to give the Sixers a 44-42 lead at halftime.
"I was supposed to be spotted up, but Lou [Williams] got trapped, and I had to give him an outlet," Hawes said.
The 7-foot-1 Hawes has been scoring in the flow of the game and has been efficient. In his consecutive 20-point games, he is shooting a combined 16 for 26 from the field, 2 for 3 from beyond the arc and 9 of 10 from the foul line.
Sixers forward Elton Brand, who had seven points and nine rebounds, is more than happy to have Hawes back as a fellow starter.
"He's really hit a groove, and once he got back in the starting lineup, he shows he deserves it," Brand said. "I'm very proud of him."