Lavoy is Back in Town: Allen Signs Two-Year, 6-Mil Extension

Lavoy is Back in Town: Allen Signs Two-Year, 6-Mil Extension

Of all the "Sixers Re-Sign ____" headlines we might be seeing over the
next few weeks now that free agency is starting, this is the one that
should cause the fewest heart attacks. Lavoy Allen, local Temple grad,
had a strong rookie season, was one of the most reliable Sixers in their
unexpectedly deep playoff run this year, particularly proving the
team's one big that stood any chance of hanging with Celtics
seven-footer Kevin Garnett. He's not a franchise guy and he's probably
not a core player, but he's a valuable reserve and just 23 years old.
Clerical laziness meant that the second-rounder would become a
restricted free agent after his rookie season, but it was obvious the
Sixers would move quickly to re-secure his services.

So, two years, six million for Lavoy. Sounds reasonable enough. With
Elton Brand on his way out—next off-season, if not earlier—and the
Sixers' frontcourt spots otherwise highly unstabilized, we need all the
cheap, reliable frontcourt help we can get, and Lavoy certainly earned
his stripes in that Celtics series. We don't know if he can be a starter
yet, as his unlikely run as the team's first-line center last season
ultimately ran aground, but he's got the potential, and at the very
least is a fine backup and energy guy off the bench. At three mil a
year, that's a good enough worst-case scenario. And there was always the
risk that some other team would sign him to an oversized offer sheet
(like the $3 year / 25 mil deal our old friend Omer Asik of the Bulls
just signed with Houston) that the Sixers would have to contemplate
matching, so it's good to see Philly lock him up quick just in case.

Of course, still moves that need be made here—currently, our big man
rotation consists of Elton, Lavoy, Nik Vucevic, rookie Arnett Moultrie,
and, uh...we still got Tony Battie back there somewhere? Needless to
say, improvements must (or at least really, really should) be made from
here, but this is a good first step. Next up: NOT signing Spencer Hawes
to a contract twice this size in length and expense.

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick experienced a painful rehab start on Thursday night.

Rehabbing with Triple A Lehigh Valley, Kendrick was hit by a pitch twice before being removed after the sixth inning of the IronPigs' 8-4 loss to Indianapolis at Coca-Cola Park.

Both times Kendrick was plunked in the upper left arm, according to Tom Housenick of the Morning Call.

There was no update on if Kendrick was injured or taken out for precautionary reasons. Thursday marked Kendrick's second rehab start as he recovers from an oblique strain that has sidelined him since April 15.

The Phillies' leftfielder started at third base Thursday. At the start of his rehab assignment, Kendrick was expected to play four games and see time at third and first base, as well as in left field.

Kendrick made a throwing error at third on Thursday and finished 0 for 1 with a run scored. In his two games, he's 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.

Kendrick hit .333 with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs in 10 games with the Phillies prior to landing on the DL.

When he returns, he could see time at third base instead of left field if Maikel Franco continues to struggle (see story).

NBA Playoffs: LeBron James makes history as Cavaliers roll into Finals

NBA Playoffs: LeBron James makes history as Cavaliers roll into Finals

BOX SCORE

BOSTON -- LeBron James scored 35 points and passed Michael Jordan to become the NBA's all-time playoff scoring leader as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 135-102 on Thursday night to claim their third straight Eastern Conference title and a return trip to the NBA Finals.

Kyrie Irving added 24 points and Kevin Love finished with 15 for the Cavs, who never trailed and led by as many as 39 points in one of their most dominating wins of the series. The Cavs set an NBA record by winning their 13th consecutive series closeout opportunity.

Cleveland's 4-1 series' win gives it a 12-1 record this postseason and sets up a third consecutive matchup with Western Conference champion Golden State, the team it beat in the Finals last season to claim the franchise's first championship.

It will mark the seventh straight trip to the Finals for James.

Avery Bradley led Boston with 23 points.

The Cavaliers basically conceded the East's top seed to the Celtics at the end of the regular season by opting to rest its starters in advance of the playoffs. But they displayed their superiority over the final two games to wrap up the series.

After allowing the Celtics to seize the early momentum in Game 4, the Cavs barely gave them the chance in Game 5.

Led by its Big Three, Cleveland quickly built a 21-point lead in the first quarter, while getting lots of contributions from their teammates.

Love continued to knock down shots from the outside, Irving sliced his way into the lane to the rim and James got free for several of his one-handed, tomahawk dunks.

It was a very welcomed sight in Irving's case, after he rolled his left ankle in the third quarter of Cleveland's Game 4 win. He showed no signs of lingering issues, though, beating several defenders off the dribble and handing out seven assists.

Meanwhile, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver all helped spread out Boston's defenders by connecting on several wide-open scoring opportunities.

Deron Williams, who had been quiet for most of the series, also got in on the act with a series-best 14 points for Cleveland.

The Celtics did their best to keep up, but the consistent outside shooting, bench scoring and defense they relied on to stun Cleveland in Game 3 wasn't there Thursday night.

Tip-ins
Cavaliers: James has scored 30 or more points in 11 of Cleveland's 13 games this postseason. ... Improved to 36-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs since 2015. ... The 43 points Cleveland scored in the first quarter set a team postseason record for points in a quarter.

Celtics: Injured point guard Isaiah Thomas led his teammates in a pregame huddle before they took the court for warmups. Thomas sat out the rest of the series after aggravating a hip injury in Game 2. ... Held a pregame moment of silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing. ... Were whistled for 16 fouls in the first half.