With Bynum out, pressure on Sixers' big men
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Lavoy Allen has not been able to pick up where he left off last spring when he held his own against Kevin Garnett in the post for seven games in the Eastern conference semifinals.
In the last two games, Allen has scored a combined 0 points and grabbed two rebounds.
One game after registering a double-double, backup center Spencer Hawes was 3 of 11 for six points to go with five rebounds in the Sixers’ loss to the Bucks on Monday.
With no Andrew Bynum and no Kwame Brown, two frontcourt players sidelined with injuries, there is pressure on Allen and Hawes to perform at a high level every night out.
“It does (put pressure), but that is what you want,” Hawes said. “That’s what you play this game for. You would rather have it that way than the other way around.”
“We have to get more consistent, better games from Spencer (Hawes) and Lavoy (Allen),” Doug Collins said. “That is not being critical. It’s just true. I told Spencer in our four wins he is plus-40. In our three losses he is minus-27. Lavoy is averaging four points and less than three rebounds. In this game you have to have production from your bigs.”
The Sixers announced on Monday that, barring any setbacks, Andrew Bynum would begin practicing with the team on Dec. 10. Clearly, the All-Star center was the focal point of the team’s offseason moves, but currently he cannot be the focus of its thoughts. That will only impede the team’s progress.
“We never really have played with him,” Hawes said. “Every night we go out, this is the team we got, this is the team we are rolling with. As much as we are looking forward to him coming back, it is someone we still haven’t played with yet, so the team we have is what we have to go with and be confident in.”
“This is a new process,” Collins stressed. “It is not like we brought Andrew into a group of eight guys who have been together. We brought him into a team of eight new guys. I know sometimes there is a connectedness that you can only get through developing trust in those battles with one another. I call it sweat equity that you get being in the trenches with your teammates and we haven’t had much of that.”
Given the injuries and the new faces, Collins is not disappointed in his team’s 4-3 start. He does want the Sixers to play better at home, where they are 1-2 thus far, and he believes that starts with better focus.
“What I see are some red flags that I am trying to unfurl before they wave in the breeze too long,” Collins said.
Those red flags include slow starts, too many turnovers and not closing out quarters.
“The first six minutes of every game, we are shooting 37 percent and scoring 10 points,” Collins said. “That’s what we do the first six minutes. We are easing into the game. It is a little bit what we have done in practice. We ease into practice.”
The Sixers and Bucks were tied at 48 with 2:38 to play in the second quarter. Milwaukee scored 14 consecutive points before taking a 62-50 lead at the half.
In the fourth quarter, the two teams were tied at 89 only to have Milwaukee outscore the Sixers 16-7 to finish the game.
“The end of the half killed us and the end of the game killed us, and that is what we have to be able to rectify,” Collins said.
That opportunity comes Wednesday night when the 0-8 Pistons come to town.
“They have played well enough to win some games,” Collins said of the Pistons. “They have had their heart broken. It is a will-to-win game. Go out and impose your will. They are coming into our building and we have to play better at home.”