By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – For the first time since the week before Christmas, the Sixers will play a game at home tonight when they host the Brooklyn Nets.
Since beating the Hawks in South Philadelphia, 99-80, on December 21st, the Sixers have played eight straight on the road. They went 2-6 during that extended road trip, wrapping up the trek with a loss down in San Antonio on Saturday.
Sixers center Spencer Hawes was a guest on KYW Newsradio Tuesday, saying that the length and timing of that trip really made it a grind.
“It’s tough,” Hawes says. “You’re on the road, it’s the holiday season, there’s a lot of stuff going on. It’s just nice to be back home and settle in a little bit.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Spencer Hawes:
Losing six of eight on the road trip dropped the Sixers to 15-20 on the season. They are fourth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference.
“If you look at the standings, we’re not that far out of it,” Hawes says. “It’s been a tough start with a lot of new faces, just trying to get acquainted with one another. But I think we’re just a couple of breaks away from getting this thing headed in the right direction.”
The Nets bring a 19-15 record into this one, they are 5-1 since P.J. Carlesimo took over as the interim head coach for Avery Johnson.
“Obviously they made some changes,” Hawes says. “They’re playing well since that happened. Not to call them a predictable team, but you know who they’re going to, you know who their horses are. They are more of a half-court team, they kind of get to their spots and try and operate. We have to try and mix it up a little bit in there and try and get them away from their primary options.”
Those primary options for Brooklyn are center Brook Lopez (18.9 pts/gm), guard Joe Johnson (17.1 pts/gm) and guard Deron Williams (16.6 pts/gm).
Starting with tonight’s game, the Sixers will play 13 of their next 15 games at home and Hawes says this is the time to make a move.
“Its a big opportunity for us, being back in Philly,” Hawes says. “To make up some ground and get back on the winning track. We have to take advantage of it, we can’t squander it and we know that.”
The Sixers and Nets will tip-off at 7:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.