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Lavoy Allen: Strong And Silent - 5/20/2012

by DAN BEAULIEU


Although its been and up and down season for 76er reserve center Lavoy Allen, it may have reached its apex in Game Two when Allen hit what he later referred to as the "shot of his life." With 4:03 left in the game and 0.9 seconds remaining on the shot clock, he banked home a 22-footer that gave the Sixers a 67-65 lead; Philly would go on to win the game 82-81.

But this isn't a story about that one improbable basket; it is instead the story of a hometown player who has shown a great deal of patience and humility throughout his rookie season and has made the most of every opportunity he's been afforded.

The 50th overall selection in the 2011 draft, Allen has grown significantly as a pro, quickly becoming a fixture in the Philly rotation. But even as the 6'9" center, a fan favorite, has begun to draw national attention, he's maintained his usual low-key demeanor.

"I've been hearing (about how quiet I am) since high school," Allen recently told CSN's Dei Lynam. "I don't pay too much attention to what people say. I'm only worried about what Coach Collins and his assistants think."

It's now obvious that Collins and his crew think quite highly of Allen, but earlier in the season, it may have not been as apparent to the viewers at home. He played sparingly early in the season, receiving the infamous 'DNP-CD' (Did Not Play-Coach's Decision) in 13 of the Sixers' first 15 games. However, when starting center Spencer Hawes went down on January 16th with a strained left achilles tendon, Allen and fellow-rookie big man Nikola Vucevic were called upon to carry the workload.

Allen's playing time increased significantly over the following two months; he even started 11 consecutive games during one stretch. Although his regular season statistics (4.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG) were ordinary, his contributions, especially on the defensive end, were immeasurable.

In the postseason, Lavoy Allen has developed into one of the team's most important role players. In the first two games of this series with the Boston Celtics, he has averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 RPG, but his greatest contribution thus far has been on the defensive end.

With Elton Brand playing limited minutes due to a neck spasm, Allen has been called upon to defend a suddenly reinvigorated Kevin Garnett. He has responded impressively, earning the praise and respect of his teammates.

"I'm definitely happy for him and I know he could sustain it because he worked all year to get to that level," said Elton Brand.

Coach Collins added, "Lavoy is the guy we'd like to have defending Garnett in the post. He's very strong."

With his impressive play on the national stage, one might wonder if continued success at the NBA level could alter his subdued demeanor.

"You wouldn't know anything; you wouldn't even know if he's breathing," Evan Turner notes. "He doesn't really show much emotion; he doesn't really talk or anything. Whether he scored 50 or he scored nothing, he's still even keel. I don't think he realizes what he's doing."