Before every playoff series this season, we’re doing some rundowns on the opposing roster for each team. Now that the Hawks have been dispensed with, we’re onto the Sixers. Players are listed in alphabetical order.
Lavoy Allen: For many readers, this may be the first time you’ve heard the name Lavoy Allen, unless you know him or somebody else by that name. I predict you’re going to hear it a bunch. Allen’s a rookie, and Doug Collins plays him erratically (he started him in Game 1 against Chicago and didn’t play him in Game 6). But when Allen’s on the floor, he’s on the boards. He had the highest rebound rate of any rookie this season. He had the 17th highest rebound rate IN THE LEAGUE this year among power forwards who played at least 30 games. But all we hear about is guys like Kenneth “Manimal” Faried and Gustavo “Gustavo” Ayon.
Allen’s problem is that he doesn’t shoot that much, and when he does, he likes to shoot jumpers. He takes more shots from 16-23 feet than from anywhere else. David Thorpe recently compared him to an older version of current Antonio McDyess (no word on whether Thorpe z-snapped afterwards). So he’s not an offensive threat, but he could definitely exploit Boston’s carom-capturing weakness, especially off the bench.
Elton Brand: Brand’s extended his solid-season streak to two this year. He rebounded decently, shot efficiently for the most part…even defended so well that Tom Haberstroh put him up for Defensive Player of the Year. He was league-best at defending the post up, according to Synergy, and his team is three opponent points stingier when he’s on the floor. Malik Rose has taken to calling him “Old School Chevy,” apparently because you could get him at about half the price when he was in his prime.
Here’s the thing: Brand kind of stunk in the Bulls series. He didn’t score, didn’t rebound like he should’ve with Noah out, and couldn’t find an answer for the very answerable Carlos Boozer. He matches up well with Brandon Bass, but he’s occasionally going to have to deal with Kevin Garnett, and if Garnett signed an extension on his deal with the devil, Brand’s troubles may persist.
Spencer Hawes: Hawes emerged as his team’s most reliable offensive player in the last four games against the Bulls, averaging 15.5 points on 52-percent shooting and 10.3 boards after struggling in the first two games. If Joakim Noah hadn’t been hurt, rest assured this would not have transpired. Rest so, so assured.
But this is still a talented dude. Like the other bigs on his team, he can hit long jumpers. And among centers with any kind of usage, he had the highest assist rate in the league last season. Any friendliness shared between him and Kevin Garnett is not likely to last this series: KG is going to look to garotte him in the post, stopping him from successfully posting up one-on-one so he can’t get his shooters good looks when he passes it out. He’s likely to be more lenient when Hawes wanders outside, so Hawes is going to fill his plate with jumpers at the scorer’s buffet occasionally. But that’s okay, because Hawes taking jumpers means less movement on offense for the Sixers and more rebounding opportunities for Boston.
Jrue Holiday: In the amorphous blob of just-above-average talent that is the Philadelphia Sixers, Jrue Holiday may represent the one outstanding matchup weakness the Celtics can latch onto. Rondo should throttle a guy like Holiday: he’s bigger, longer, and faster, and while Holiday can shoot and drive reasonably well, he’ll get frustrated if Rondo can stick to him for a few possessions. On defense, Holiday’s a pretty solid perimeter defender, but he has a tendency to get wiped out on screens and, again, Rondo’s probably faster even with the ball.
He had a great Bulls series, but, like Spenny Hawes, Anjrue’s another guy who took home some unseemly profits from Chicago injuries. After going 7-18 and registering a -25 plus/minus with Derrick Rose on him in Game 1, Holiday scored 26 points in Game 2 and averaged 18 the rest of the way. If Rondo can manage to avoid Hulking out and reaching for the steal too early, he should be able to consistently stay in front of Holiday and suppress his totals.
Later: Iguodala-Young, Th.