The Sixers' crowd on Monday evening at the Wells Fargo Center to take in the 103-83 throttling of the Washington Wizards was a modest one to say the least, with announced attendance a shade over 10,000 fans. But the fans that did brave the unpleasant weather conditions appeared to be the South Philly regulars this season season, here every night to watch Doug Collins and his hard-working Sixers go a nasty 8-1 on their home court.
You see, they know. They know exactly what happens when the Sixers reach the century mark on the scoreboard.
Part of me hates it. In a game when the 76ers were clicking on all cylinders -- "We executed, we didn't turn the ball over, we made the extra pass, our defense was brilliant," Doug Collins said after the game -- it's somewhat annoying to the hardcore basketball fan in me to see the crowd get up off their feet, the loudest the Center was all night, for when the scoreboard read 99 points with two minutes left to play.
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For some strange, bizarre reason, fans who come to Sixers games this season go super-sized nuts when the team hits 100 points in a game, rewarding every ticket holder in attendance with a free Big Mac the next day at McDonalds. And the player who hits the bucket to send them in to triple digits is showered in cheers like delicious golden french fries are showered in salt.
Our distaste for this faux basketball excitement aside, we were quite happy to see former Temple star Lavoy Allen get the honors on Monday evening, hitting the big shot to send the Sixers to 101 points. But don't think Lavoy doesn't want his piece of the burger.
"I'm expecting a couple of them to give me their tickets," Allen joked after the game of the fans cheering for his big bucket. "I'm feeling for a couple of Big Macs tomorrow."
But did the pressure of the moment -- of 7,000,000 calories, of 440,000 grams of fat, of 1,400,000 milligrams of cholesterol -- get to him when he squared up in the fourth for the big jumper?
Not a chance.
"I had a feeling it was going in," Lavoy said.
All jokes aside, Allen's performance was by far the best of his young career and it came on a night when the Sixers really did need it. They were without their two best big men in Spencer Hawes and rookie Nik Vucevic, and Tony Battie is certainly getting up there in age and can only give you so many minutes. Lavoy knew coming into the night he'd likely get a chance to show what he's capable of.
Allen entered tonight's game against the Wizards with just 7 career points on 3-7 from the field in three appearances this season. He put up a career-high 10 points on Monday night by shooting a perfect 5 for 5 from the field in 17 minutes of action.
"I just try to play the same way all the time, not to get too nervous, not to get too fast, just play my game," Lavoy said of his best performance to date. "The guys have been telling me all year long, whenever I get the opportunity to go in there, to show what I can do. Be ready at all times because you never know what can happen. I was ready whenever coach called my name."
Coach Collins praised his other rookie big man for his effort and gave him the coveted "Ace of Spades Award" given to his best player on any given night.
"How about our boy Lavoy Allen?" Coach Collins said after the game. "What a coming out party for Lavoy tonight.
"It was great. It was one of the first times I've seen him really smile and really see his personality. Lavoy's good. He's big, he's strong, he can shoot the ball. He's got a good feel for the game. And you know, it's interesting how it works, I always tell guys in this league you've got to be ready when you're called on and Lavoy played a few minutes down in Miami that I think helped him the other day. And he came in tonight and gave everybody hamburgers too, so he's gonna be the real hero."
Allen, a stud during his college days with the Temple Owls, is no stranger to success, but the one knock on his game was always the seemingly inconsistent effort. Coach Collins says he has yet to see that linger in Lavoy's short time in the League.
"I talked to him about it when we drafted him," Collins said after the win. "I said Lavoy, 'you know it's interesting, no one has ever told me you're not talented, you're not big, you're not strong, you don't have great hands, you can't shoot, you're not a good defender. I've never heard anybody say those things. All I've ever heard anybody say is you've got a low motor. Well you can change that. I can't change it for you but if you want to play with the energy you can play with, you've got a chance to be really good."
Now, perhaps it was the magical powers of one Ronald McDonald, but the Golden Arch's stock price (MCD) closed at $100 and some change on Monday afternoon? The same exact point total needed to give 10,100 Philadelphians free big Macs. Eerie.
We'll let Lavoy savor this one for a while, just like a Big Mac burp you can still taste a day later.
"Now I get to be the crowd favorite for at least another 24 hours," Lavoy said.