FOURTEEN. THERE were many numbers accumulated during the 76ers' 126-125 double-overtime victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, but the 14 was one that might become more of a trend.
It is a number that was produced by Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes. It wasn't the number of rebounds they corralled, nor the number of shots they blocked - both good guesses since they are the starting center and power forward. Instead it is the number of three-pointers the two attempted - Hawes with eight and Young with six.
While it would appear to be a high number for two of the few power players on the team, coach Brett Brown is on board with those two players pulling the trigger from distance.
For Hawes, it's nothing really new. There is little doubt that he is the best shooter on the team. Whether that's a testament to the 7-footer's shooting ability or more of an indication of what kind of roster Brown has is open for debate. But there is no question that the offense he has implemented - that of the fast pace and frenetic style - welcomes the bombings of Young and Hawes.
"It is a very dangerous, double-edged sword," said Brown. "When you get open, with those two players especially, I want them shooting it. We don't like ridiculously early in the clock, we don't like dribble ups. It's very dangerous. I feel like a lot of people make an awful lot about this analytics and threes and long twos, and there is a lot of truth to that, but it also comes with some unintended consequences and things that you can't relate to stats. But with those two guys I'm encouraging them [to shoot] in [good] situations."
While the offensive style often appears to be helter-skelter - and it is - Brown is striving to bring some organization to the chaos. While he wants as many breakout shot attempts he can get, he wants them to be good ones. Launching bombs early in the shot clock just for the sake of chucking up a shot does not benefit this team. If someone can get down the floor, set his feet and get off a shot, Brown's all for it - even if the heavers happen to be Young or Hawes.
For the season, Hawes has made 32 of his 71 treys, good for 45.1 percent. For his career, Hawes is a 33.7 percent shooter on threes, but is on a pace to smash his season-highs of 40 makes and 115 attempts. He is benefiting playing with players who like to take the ball to the basket. That allows him to set up on the outside and be ready for kick-outs. He has become pretty automatic from his favorite spot on the floor, straight away from the basket.
Young's threes come a little differently, usually after he has set a pick on the perimeter and drifts out to the line or when he uses his speed to run down the floor after an opponent's miss and then finds an opening to set up shop. He has made 14 of his 34 bombs this season (41.2 percent), huge numbers when you consider he shot a combined 8-for-34 over the past three seasons. But it is not completely unfamiliar territory as he made 56-for-164 (34.1 percent) his second season and 48-for-138 (34.8 percent) in his third.
When asked to give a reason as to why he inserted Hollis Thompson into the starting lineup in place of James Anderson, Brown talked of this being a year of experiments. He wasn't just referring to his young players. Turns out two of his veterans are trying new things, too.
The Sixers will be in Charlotte tomorrow to face the Bobcats then return home on Saturday to play the Denver Nuggets . . . Tuesday was the Sixers' fourth overtime game of the season. They played in only three a season ago . . . The Sixers have scored 120 or more points three times this season. They haven't scored better than 120 more than three times in a season since doing it six times in 1993-94 . . . The Sixers have attempted 30 or more free throws in a game six times this season after doing it just three times a year ago.