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.")
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.