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). 

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

After being in the middle of trade rumors over the last few months, Nerlens Noel appears to frustrated with his situation with the Sixers, according to the Inquirer's Keith Pompey.

The Sixers have three starting-caliber centers — Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, who's now healthy — heading into this season.

"I think it's just silly," Noel told Pompey. "With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to set something done this summer.

"Don't get me wrong. We all get along great on the court and off the court. But at the end of the day, it's like having three starting quarterbacks. It doesn't make any sense.

"And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated."

The Sixers flirted with having two big men on the court at the same time last season, with Noel and Okafor but with no real success. 

He has a point, and the team knows it.

During the summer, reports swirled saying the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor for backcourt help.

Noel, who's in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't appear to believe the current situation will work.

"I think something needs to happen," he said.

Darren Sproles 'amazing' 73-yard TD set tone for fun 2nd half vs. Steelers

Darren Sproles 'amazing' 73-yard TD set tone for fun 2nd half vs. Steelers

When Darren Sproles caught the nifty touch pass from Carson Wentz around midfield, there was little doubt about what would happen next.

"Touchdown," running back Kenjon Barner said after the Eagles' stunning 34-3 shellacking of the Steelers (see Instant Replay)
 
Really? With that many yards to go?

"Touchdown," he said. "As soon as he caught the ball. There was nobody there. That guy in the open field — you're not going to bring him down by yourself. With that much space — touchdown."

Barner wasn't the only one.

"Man, it's Sproles! Did you think he was going to get tackled?" receiver Nelson Agholor said incredulously. 

Uhh …

"Man, listen, it's Darren Sproles, and if you second-guessed him, then I don't know what you're thinking," he said. "I'm surprised if he gets tackled."

So is center Jason Kelce. 

"I was actually celebrating before he scored the touchdown, because I watched the whole thing unfold," Kelce said. "It was just a great play. [Wentz] scrambles out and then has the common sense to when the defender comes to him to dump it over top to Sproles, and that dude, once he gets the ball in space, it's incredibly special."

It sure was. 

First, Wentz stepped away from charging defensive end Stephon Tuitt, who had gotten away from Allen Barbre. 

“I came out and saw Sproles and he just turned up the field,” Wentz said. “Anytime that you can put it in [his hands], something special can happen on any play, and he did the rest of it.” 

Wentz did a little more than that (see story). After escaping the sack, he rushed to his right and made a right turn. Then he parallelled the line of scrimmage, drawing linebacker Ryan Shazier toward him — and allowing Sproles to get wide open.

Whoops.

"I thought he crossed the line of scrimmage, so I ran up," Shazier said. "It was my fault."

Sproles caught the pass, snaked his way the remaining 50 yards, spinning Steelers rookie safety Sean Davis around a couple times and watching rookie corner Artie Burns flail at him helplessly right before crossing the goal line.

"When they do that, it kind of gets everyone off their job when he extends the play like that," Davis said. "Me being a deep player, I just tried to buy us some time once I saw that we got broken down and let the defense rally up, and it's just a good play [by] him."

An amazing play. It was a 73-yard touchdown on the fourth play of the third quarter, a 3rd-and-8, and put the Eagles up 20-3 (see 10 observations). It was the second-longest catch of Sproles' career and longest since 2009 while with the Chargers (an 81-yarder vs. Baltimore). It was easily the longest TD of Wentz’s career and a main reason he was able to become only the second rookie in team history to reach 300 passing yards in a game (Nick Foles is the other).

“It was so much fun,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “Those are the kinds of plays you can’t design. It’s players making plays. … Sproles did his thing and wiggled down there, and it was fun to watch.”

That’s what Agholor should have done. Just watch.

"I was trying to chase him down and almost pulled my hamstring," Agholor said. 

"You see those moves he put on them? Pffft. And DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham) ran downfield — that downfield block. Think about that. We were having a lot of fun tonight man, and I'm very happy about that."

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