Last night, Vucevic bounced back with a career-high 18 points in 27 minutes off the bench in a 93-87 loss to the Houston Rockets. Allen started, but had just four points in 17 minutes. It was the Sixers' fifth straight loss.
That they are feeling the effects of this season is not surprising to their coach. The Sixers now are off until next Tuesday because of the All-Star break.
"I think so," Doug Collins said when asked before the game if his two young players are hitting that wall. "We've got to remember that during the lockout they played [overseas, Allen in France, Vucevic in Montenegro]. They've been playing much longer. So you have to think, 33 [Sixers] games and however long they played during that lockout period of time. They probably played 15, 16 or 17 games so they're looking at 48 games right now that they've played plus all the learning curve and stuff that they've had to go through. I don't think there's any question that they'll be able to use the break."
Allen won't be back in Philadelphia sitting by the sofa getting some much needed rest, though. He'll be heading to Orlando, not to see Mickey, but to watch teammates Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner compete during All-Star weekend. Turner will be playing in tomorrow night's Rising Stars Challenge game, while Iguodala will be in Sunday night's showcase event.
Allen insists that the fatigue isn't wearing too badly on him.
"I'm good, I'm good," he said before conceding, "I'm not really used to all this. In college you don't really play that many games back-to-back so a break would be good. I just want to relax and get ready for the second part of the season. I try to be mentally focused at all times when I'm on the court and when I'm on the bench, paying attention to what's going on out there. Mentally, I've always tried to stay focused."
Even with this losing skid, Collins and his team take comfort in the fact that they're atop their division and certainly have a more impressive record than most would have imagined.
"We'll take it," said Lou Williams. "It's better than we've done before leading into the break. I think we've played pretty good basketball so we're not going to hang our heads on the little lull that we're in. We've played some very competitive games and a couple of them I feel like we didn't compete. It happens in a season and I hate that it happened right before the break, but still nothing to drop our heads about."
The team is still struggling mightily at the offensive end, much of it due to the loss of starting center Spencer Hawes, who continues to nurse an Achilles' strain.
"Spencer is playing at a high level this year and we run a lot of offense through him, through the post, and he was a guy that was able to get guys open and eager to share the basketball, which is one of the things we miss," Williams said. "Once you build a team and you're winning is based on everybody being on the same page, everybody being healthy, then you have a guy like Spencer go out and then Elton [Brand] go out [with a sprained right thumb], it's kind of tough to put those pieces together, especially when you rely on everybody."
During his time in Orlando this weekend, Evan Turner doesn't plan to overdo things at his first All-Star weekend.
"I'm just going to do my obligations and everything and then on Sunday I'm going back to Columbus for senior day," said the Ohio State product. "I'm going to try to get rest because the season is going to be coming back again. We've got a tough Detroit team on Tuesday and then the Thunder and all that wild stuff. So I'm not going to try and live the wild life this weekend.
"I might bump into [Michael] Jordan out there. It's always fun to run into the great one. I've met him once, that's one of my favorite athletes, and Muhammad Ali. So if Muhammad is out there I would love to meet him, too."