Lavoy Allen Avenges Temple Loss with Career Night in Sixers Win

Lavoy Allen Avenges Temple Loss with Career Night in Sixers Win

Well, so much for that whole tanking thing. It appears the Sixers will,
for better or worse, be trying to actually win the remaining 13 games on
their schedule, and while that's arguably detrimental to the team's
long-term prospects—though with a draft this uncertain, who knows how
beneficial a higher draft slot will even be—it at least makes for some
surprisingly watchable games, such as tonight's 117-103 beatdown of the
Kings in Sacramento, by some distance the team's greatest offensive
outing of the season.



Much of the credit for that goes to Temple's own Lavoy Allen. The Owls
might've taken a tough loss today in their second-round matchup against
Indiana, but their esteemed alum had quite arguably his greatest game as
a pro, and definitively his highest scoring, as Lavoy chipped in 20
points off the bench on 9-13 shooting, with seven boards and one very
pretty assist to Thaddeus Young to go along with it. He hit his first
couple jumpers and kept rolling from there, cashing in offensive boards
and running the pick-and-pop to perfection. Lavoy has been in and out of
Coach Collins' rotation as of late—his 20 points for the game is just
one shy of his total for all of March before tonight—but if he could
consistently hit shots and provide energy like this, he could still be a
useful cog for the team for the remainder of the season (and more
importantly, the second year of his $6 million contract).



Lavoy was hardly the only Sixer to put up numbers tonight. Dorell Wright
was also beastly off the bench, draining six threes and ending with 22
points and an impressive six assists. Evan Turner struggled with his
shot early, but smartly went into facilitating mode in the second half,
ending with nine assists and helping the Sixers find a good rhythm in
the third quarter as they pulled way from Sactown. Spencer Hawes and
Damien Wilkins continued their respective unlikely streaks of Doing Good
Stuff, Hawes shrugging off the boos from the arena he once called home
and ending with a 14/10 double-double, and Wilkins pitching in 17 points
with six boards and three assists.



But as per usual, the team was led in example by Jrue Holdiay. The
Damaja paced the Sixers with 21 points, seven assists and ten
rebounds—rebounding being a real strength of Jrue's lately, tonight
making the sixth straight game of six boards or more for our crafty
point guard. The team shared the ball brilliantly, especially in the
second half, and that stemmed from Holiday, doing a great job of
initiating the offense and setting the wheels in motion, while the Sixer
wings and bigs did an excellent job of making the extra pass and then
hitting their open looks. It's a cohesion that we've barely seen from
the Sixers' predominantly ugly offense this year, and one that reminds
of the early days under Doug Collins, where ball movement was paramount
and Marc Zumoff went to bed with a smile on his lips.



Philly travels to Utah for their one Salt Lake showdown of the season
tomorrow night. If we keep winning games like this, we'll be lucky to
even crack the top ten on draft night. It's not a great thing, but it's
hard to get too mad at the guys for playing good team basketball,
offering a late air of hope and redemption to an otherwise totally
miserable season. What can you say? You win some, you lose some (by
winning some). 

Want to play corner for Jim Schwartz? Must worry about more than deep ball

Want to play corner for Jim Schwartz? Must worry about more than deep ball

The Eagles might not have any top-flight cornerbacks, but they certainly have a lot of guys with some talent.

Many of them are young, and all of them are battling for just several roster spots.

That hodgepodge of talent has made the corner position one of the more intriguing spots at this year's training camp. We're not sure how it'll all shake out, who will be the starters, who will be the depth players.

But one thing's for certain: Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wants all of them to be aggressive.

"It's going to be fun to watch the corners compete," Schwartz said after practice Tuesday. "We have some guys that can cover. We have some guys that have a great opportunity here. If they'll get up and they'll challenge receivers, like I said before, if you can cover — you can't cover many people if you don't want to challenge guys. That's God's honest truth. I could play the deep ball. I'd get my ass 50 yards deep and you couldn't get one over the top of me, but I couldn't cover anything else.

"There's a fine line in there. And the fine line is you obviously have to play the deep ball in this league, but if that's the only thing you're worried about, you're not going to cover anything else."

Schwartz said he's happy with the blend of veteran and young players on the roster, before rattling off five names: Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, JaCorey Shepherd and rookie Jalen Mills.

The one notable omission from that list of names is second-year player Eric Rowe, who finished last year as a starter, but has been somewhat of a forgotten man this spring and summer. On Monday, head coach Doug Pederson mentioned some "hiccups" Rowe encountered learning the new defensive scheme (see story).

Even with Rowe buried on the depth chart for now, there are still plenty of talented, young corners fighting for jobs.

Carroll, on the other hand, isn't young. He's 29 and a returning starter from last year. Schwartz praised Carroll's smarts and said he's been a resource for younger players. But Carroll is also coming off of a fibula fracture and subsequent surgery. That's why he's one of the select vets that reported to camp early.

"This is important for him now," Schwartz said. "It's a good opportunity for him to come back before the full club gets here, just to sort of test it out and see how he's feeling. You don't want to judge too much. He might need a day here or there. It helps that he's a veteran player."

It seems Carroll, on a one-year deal, has a decent shot of being a starter opposite McKelvin. During the spring, Brooks worked outside in the base package and moved inside to the slot. At times, the rookie Mills also played in the slot.

Schwartz said corners in the slot need a different set of skills than the ones outside. They need to have the "courage" to take on big-bodied running backs and the occasional pulling guard. They also need to cover differently.

"It's very rare that you're getting the same routes," he said. "You're not getting the same routes from the slot as you are from the outside. So there's a different skill set. Some guys can play both, some guys can't. So it's our job to determine over the next six weeks where all the guys fit in that."

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts; Ichiro in CF, 4 hits away from 3,000

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts; Ichiro in CF, 4 hits away from 3,000

Ryan Howard is in the Phillies' lineup Tuesday night, batting fourth against Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler. 

It's the second start in three games for Howard, who has actually been productive lately when he's gotten a chance to start. He went 2 for 3 on Saturday and had a homer in three of his previous five starts. Over that span he's gone 6 for 21 with three home runs and five RBIs as the Phillies' starting first baseman.

One of those homers was against Koehler last week at Citizens Bank Park, a two-run shot.

Howard's struggles this season have been well-documented and he's still hitting just .165, but he and Tommy Joseph have produced from a power standpoint. The only team in the majors that has more home runs from its first basemen than the Phillies (24) is the Cubs (26).

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Cody Asche, LF
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Peter Bourjos, RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

And for the Marlins:

1. Ichiro, CF (four hits away from 3,000)
2. Martin Prado, 3B
3. Christian Yelich, LF
4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF
5. Chris Johnson, 1B
6. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
7. Jeff Mathis, C
8. Miguel Rojas, 2B
9. Tom Koehler, P

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

Wayne, Pa. -- Three steps. 

That’s all it takes before Ben Simmons is recognized walking through the streets of Philadelphia. 

This year’s No. 1 pick has been in the spotlight long before the Sixers drafted him in June, and now he's experiencing what it's like to be known as an NBA player in his new city. 

“I’ve been enjoying walking around South Street, getting some Ishkabibble's,” Simmons said Tuesday after a special appearance at the Sixers' Camp at Valley Forge Military Academy. 

At 6-foot-10, Simmons towers above most on the court, let alone on the sidewalk. Fans have been eager to welcome him to Philadelphia for a new chapter of the organization after three years of struggle. 

“Positive things,” Simmons said of the comments he receives. “I think a lot of people are excited, so I’ve been looking forward to it.”

Simmons understands the impact a professional athlete can have on young fans, and was excited to be at camp Tuesday.

Growing up in Australia, he never had the opportunity to hear from NBA players when he attended basketball camps. Now that he's in that position, the 20-year-old was glad to provide that memory to the 240 campers. 

“That would mean a lot if I was able to experience that,” Simmons said. 

Simmons demonstrated skill drills, such as passing fundamentals, interacted in a Q+A session and signed autographs for each camper. He also took individual photos for those who traveled internationally, including from Nigeria, Italy and Greece. 

“I’m just like them, but older,” Simmons said. “I’m just trying to be a good role model to them.”

Simmons plans to spend most of the offseason in Philadelphia as he gets settled into the city. He still has to move into his new home, but at least he knows where to get a cheesesteak in the meantime.