Young, Allen pair up to lead Sixers over Celtics
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Through the first three exhibition games, the most popular theme for Doug Collins’ Sixers has been figuring out ways the team can survive until All-Star Andrew Bynum returns.
It won’t be a small task since Bynum is expected to transform the Sixers. But in the meantime, Collins has done his best to keep certain players paired together. In Monday night’s 107-75 exhibition win over the Boston Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay)
, one of the head coach's pairings fit together quite nicely.
Thrust into the starting five with Kwame Brown joining Bynum on the sidelines, Thad Young and Lavoy Allen picked apart the Celtics for a combined 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Big man Spencer Hawes came off the bench to score a game-high 17 points with eight rebounds on 6-for-10 shooting. Though Hawes has primarily been used as a starter and is expected to make the switch from center to power forward while teamed with Bynum and Brown, Collins says he could mix it up a bit.
With the Celtics playing without big men Kevin Garnett and Chris Wilcox, the Sixers’ depth in the frontcourt was served well with Hawes as the sixth man.
“I thought Spencer could help Nick [Young] coming off the bench because he can really handle the ball as a big,” Collins said.
“I’m looking for everything. With us, transition defense is so important and with Spencer and Kwame we didn’t have that element of that guy getting down the floor. For us, that’s important not just defensively but offensively as well. If Thad can give us those minutes and Spencer and Lavoy can help us off the bench, that’s why I’m looking at everything.”
By running the floor, Young scored 11 points in the third quarter during a stretch in which the Sixers pushed their lead from seven points to 21. Allen made his shots, going 5 for 6 from the floor. He also hooked up with Young for a pair of assists during the decisive third frame.
Mostly though, Allen mixed it up in the paint and allowed Young to do his thing.
“With Lavoy playing against the bigger, stronger guys, Thad can sprint the floor,” Collins said. “When he sprints the floor and we get the wings out and get the floor flattened out, then [point guard Jrue Holiday] has a great opportunity to make something happen in transition.”
Young and Allen, on the other hand, aren’t sure if playing together transforms their games that much. Young says he likes playing with a guy like Allen simply because he won’t have to do all the dirty work in the paint.
Allen isn’t affected either way. The way he explains it, he’ll play with anyone. During the playoff series against Boston last spring, Allen was the antidote against Garnett simply because of his Baby Huey-like strength. If Young were put in the same situation, it would have hurt the Sixers.
“He’s a big body and can guard the bigger guys. We kind of complement each other,” Young said about Allen. “He can do certain things around the basket that I can’t do and it helps us out.
“It’s hard to guard those bigger guys sometimes.”
So after two seasons as one of the top reserves in the NBA, there’s a chance that Young could slide into a starting role. Collins hasn’t committed to anything just yet, but with Young drawing extra minutes as a starter at power forward, the Sixers aren’t just big.
They’re fast, too.
“Thad gives us an element of speed when he gets up and down the floor,” Collins said. “His calling card has to be his speed and activity.”
The Sixers, at 2-1 in the preseason, return to action on Wednesday night when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers.