PHILADELPHIA Spencer Hawes' first three seasons in the NBA were spent with the Kings before he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in June 2010.
Hawes came into the league as a 7-foot-1 center with three-point range, but this season he has played more like a true big man, having taken only three shots beyond the arc.
He entered Tuesday's game averaging 12.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots.
If Hawes can keep up that pace, all those figures would be career highs.
"I feel like the game has slowed down for me, especially on offense, and on defense, too," Hawes said. "Being able to play at my pace instead of letting the defense dictate everything in there."
Hawes left Tuesday's game at halftime with a lower back strain. He had no points or rebounds but did block two shots and have three assists in 11 minutes.
Before the game, Hawes, now in his fifth season, said his outlook is different than it was as a 19-year-old rookie out of the University of Washington.
"Whether it's on offense or defense, I'm just trying to be more assertive," he said.
Hawes said his regimen during the lockout, which included swimming and boxing, is another reason for his improved play.
Hawes said the daily workout routine could get "boring," so he switched things up when he wasn't among the players involved in the NBA labor discussions.
"I think it's (the) hard work in the summer paying off and coming back with an aggressive mind-set," Hawes said. "Just having the opportunity to go out there and help the team win."
Hayes makes the trip Kings forward-center Chuck Hayes made the five-game trip even though it was announced Friday he will miss three to four weeks with a dislocated left shoulder.
"All I can do is conditioning right now," he said.
Hayes, who suffered a full dislocation of his shoulder last Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks, said it will be two weeks before he is re-evaluated and his rehab activity can increase.
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