|Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE|
When the Philadelphia 76ers visited the Cleveland Cavaliers last Wednesday, Lavoy Allen just recorded two fouls in as many minutes. He found himself buried on the bench behind Spencer Hawes, Kwame Brown and even Dorell Wright who has been seeing an increased amount of time at the power forward spot now that Andrew Bynum has been declare out indefinitely.
But, ever since the Sixers’ sometimes-clueless coach, Doug Collins, gave his young Temple grad the green light and starting nod at Center, the second-year man has been playing with more confidence and the results are showing. Over the past three games, Allen has been averaging 8.3 points 5 rebounds and 2 assists in just 25 minutes per night.
While all of the hype for the Sixers that doesn't concern Bynum has been about Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, Allen has been a truly underrated contributor for this team in the past week. Something his stats don’t show is his timely rebounding and clutch defense. We saw Lavoy’s ability to defend in the playoffs last season when he shut down Kevin Garnett play after play. Last night, as the Sixers were struggling to close out the Mavericks, Allen denied Chris Kaman of any scoring in the last 2:38 seconds, the time he checked in to replace Brown. Prior to his defensive stand, Kaman had led the Mavs in scoring with 20 points and had just hit a layup 30 seconds earlier. You can’t use stats to show how his timely tip outs on offensive rebounds affect the pace of the game either. If you included the roughly two or three times Allen chases down a miss and tips it back out to a teammate as a rebound, he would be averaging nearly 16 rebounds per 48 minutes. That’s an incredible statistic.