Lavoy Allen Sets Rebounding Benchmark in Meaningless Sixers Victory

Lavoy Allen Sets Rebounding Benchmark in Meaningless Sixers Victory

Even down three of their five starters—or at least, three of the five
guys you'd have thought might have started for this team when things
were looking a lot sunnier at season's beginning—you had to feel pretty
good about the Sixers' chances of beating the Charlotte Bobcats tonight.
The game wasn't pretty, and was often a lot closer than it should have
been, but ultimately, the Sixers were able to take care of business,
keeping the 'Cats at arm's length for most of the second half, with Jrue
Holiday basically closing the door on them in the fourth with a couple
key buckets. Evan Turner got off the schneid a little with his 16
points, Spencer Hawes ground out a respectable 17 and 9 game, and
recently signed backup PG Jeremy Pargo impressed is his Sixers debut,
scoring 12 with six dimes in 29 bench minutes.

But tonight was
all about Lavoy Allen. We haven't talked a whole lot about Lavoy on the
Level this season, because his play has been about as expected—solid,
but unremarkable, proving himself worthy of his two-year, six-mil
contract without making the deal look like a huge steal or anything.
Tonight was easily his best game of the season though, as he grabbed an
astounding 22 rebounds–11 offensive, 11 defensive—and added 14 points
and solid post defense as well. The 22 boards nearly doubles Lavoy's
previous career high of 12, and is the most for any Sixer since Samuel
Dalembert grabbed 23 against the Warriors in March of 2009. ("All I did was put my hands up and the ball came to me," Chris Vito reports Lavoy explaining. "I didn't do anything special.")

The
career night is indicative of Lavoy stepping up his efforts—aided by a
season-high 41 minutes of PT—without Thaddeus Young, by far the Sixers'
most productive frontcourt player. The activity is encouraging, and
along with another promising game from Arnett Moultrie—only three
points, but seven rebounds, and good general activity (along with two
fouls drawn, which basically makes him Allen Iverson as far as this
Sixers team is concerned)—Thad's absence hasn't been quite as
devastating thusfar as it could have been.

The next few will be a
lot tougher for the Sixers, as they host the playoff-bound Los Angeles
Clippers (who, despite being a much worse team in the midst of Chris
Paul's recent knee troubles, are still comfortably superior to our
Liberty Ballers), and then head north to visit the Milwaukee Bucks,
Philly's last game before the All-Star Break. Treading water is the name
of the game with Thad out, so winning one of those two would be pretty
huge—though we're keeping our expectations reasonable. For now, as long
as we keep playing games and nobody gets injured or traded, I feel like
we're at least breaking even.

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors certainly looked ready to trade some more blows with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come June.

The two-time reigning MVP hit five 3-pointers and had 20 points while matching his season best with 11 assists in Golden State's 126-91 rout of the defending champs Monday.

Klay Thompson scored 26 points with five 3s, and Curry made four steals. Draymond Green produced his third triple-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while matching his career best with five blocks -- and had another dustup with King James in the process.

James had 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds, and he and Green became the talk once more as their relationship turned even more testy.

Kevin Durant added 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks for the Warriors in a much-hyped matchup merely weeks after Golden State lost 109-108 in Cleveland on Christmas (see full recap).

Thomas explodes for 17 in fourth quarter to lift Celtics over Hornets
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night for their ninth victory in 11games.

It was Thomas' 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He's been putting up big final quarters of late -- scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday.

Al Horford had 22 points, while Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder added 15 apiece for Boston, which has won all three meetings with Charlotte this season.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Marvin Williams 21 for the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight -- all on the road.

Thomas scored 13 straight points, pushing Boston ahead 93-83 with his 3-pointer from the left wing with 7 minutes left.

Boston led 80-71 entering the final period (see full recap).

Wizards remain hot with win over Trail Blazers
WASHINGTON  -- Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall had 24 as the Washington Wizards took a page from the Portland Trail Blazers' playbook by hitting 13 3-pointers in a comfortable 120-101 victory on Monday afternoon.

The Wizards, who rely less on the 3-pointer than almost any NBA team, were 13 of 23 from beyond the arc in their 12th consecutive home victory. The 3-pointer-heavy Trail Blazers shot 8 of 26 on 3-point attempts.

After Washington coach Scott Brooks called Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as good as any backcourt in the league, Beal and John Wall outplayed them. Lillard led the Blazers with 22 points and McCollum had 12, but they combined to shoot 11 of 29 from the floor.

The Wizards have won four of their last five games (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

PITTSBURGH -- Conor Sheary scored 34 seconds into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins ended the Washington Capitals' nine-game winning streak with a wild 8-7 victory Monday night that included nine second-period goals.

Sheary had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Evgeni Malkin picked up his 11th career hat trick during a frenetic second period, and Sidney Crosby collected his NHL-leading 27th goal to go with two assists. Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored for Pittsburgh, and Matt Murray got the win despite allowing seven goals on 28 shots.

The Penguins trailed 3-0 before scoring six goals in less than 11 minutes in the second period, more goals than the Capitals had allowed in a game all season. Pittsburgh led 6-5 after 40 minutes.

Lars Eller scored twice for Washington, and T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky also found the net. Philipp Grubauer made eight saves after coming on in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled during Pittsburgh's second-period deluge (see full recap).

Eichel scores twice to give Sabres' 4-1 win over Stars
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jack Eichel scored two goals and the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday.

Tyler Ennis scored 19 seconds into the first period. Ennis returned after missing 30 games with a groin injury that required surgery.

Jake McCabe also had a goal and Robin Lehner made 31 saves after missing the past three games with an illness.

The Sabres snapped a two-game losing streak and beat the Stars for the first time in four matchups.

Radek Faksa scored for the Stars in the opener of a three-game road trip. Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 shots. Dallas has lost two in a row and six of eight (see full recap).

Bishop anchors Lightning to 2-1 win over Kings
LOS ANGELES -- Brian Boyle scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning opened a six-game road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

Ben Bishop made an early mistake that led to Kyle Clifford's goal for the Kings, but bounced back to make 31 saves in his second start back from a three-week absence with a lower-body injury.

Tyler Johnson scored in the first period for the Lightning, who won for just the second time in seven games.

Peter Budaj stopped 27 shots for the Kings.

Both teams played without stars due to illness. Kings captain Anze Kopitar missed his first game since Nov. 20, and All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman missed his first game of the season for Tampa Bay (see full recap).