Sixers get Wroten back, but Allen might be sidelined

Posted: January 10, 2014

AROUND 12:30 yesterday afternoon, two black SUVs with tinted windows idled in front of the Student Activities Center at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Outside stood a pair of black-suited bodyguards straight out of central casting.

"Ear pieces and everything," a curious passerby said, adding that the motorcade looked suspiciously presidential.

But this was no politician. This was a crazy mother (expletive) named Ice Cube. Along with comedian Kevin Hart, the rapper was an honored guest at the Sixers' first practice since the end of a brutal stretch that saw them play seven games in 11 days across all four time zones. (The two were promoting their new movie "Ride Along," which is not believed to be an Oscar vehicle for either.)

For Sixers coach Brett Brown, the presence of Tony Wroten was much more significant. After missing two games with flu-like symptoms, Wroten made it through practice and is expected to play tonight against the Pistons.

That's good news, because the Sixers could be without forward Lavoy Allen, who has an issue with his calf that has left his status up in the air.

Allen is a pretty good example of how the Sixers were feeling by the end of their 111-93 loss to the Cavaliers on Tuesday, in which Brown compared his team to a dead horse that simply would not respond to his flogging. This, after a 126-95 loss to visiting Minnesota the night before, which brought a four-game winning streak to a resounding halt.

"I think we're still kind of feeling it, but it's good to come sleep in your own bed for a couple nights," said Spencer Hawes, who, along with fellow starters Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young, was pulled early in the third quarter in the loss to the Cavs. "Come home and just get back in the routine of being at home, and the positives you can take from that: just being back in your own city and the level of comfort that can provide."

Brown said the Sixers had yet to determine the severity of Allen's calf soreness. The return of Wroten, who was averaging 13.8 points, 3.3 assists and 3.6 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per game before his illness, will at least restore another body to the fold. He said he realized shortly into the second half in Cleveland that his starters simply did not have the energy and stamina to make a game of it.

"I felt like it was borderline unhealthy to even play them," Brown said. "They weren't going to be able to deliver. We went with that second group, and they actually did a pretty good job, that second group."

Brown chalked up the Sixers' recent schedule to the realities of playing in the NBA. At 12-23, the young team is handling that reality with mixed results. The last time the Sixers faced the Pistons, they lost, 115-100, at Detroit on Dec. 1. The Pistons have lost six straight games and eight of their last nine. They are 4-12 since pulling to .500 on Dec. 7. Still, Brown remains upbeat.

"This is the happiest team I've ever been around with a losing record," he said, and he meant it in a positive sense.

While the Sixers were practicing at PCOM, Lorenzo Brown was in Reno, Nev., playing in an afternoon game for the Delaware 87ers, scoring 22 points in a 113-108 loss to the Texas Legends.

Brett Brown said he expects the guard to rejoin the Sixers for tonight's game against the Pistons. Lorenzo Brown has played in 15 games for the Sixers this season, averaging 3.2 points in 11.3 minutes.

The Sixers had no players among the leading vote-getters for next month's All-Star Game in the final voting update before balloting concludes on Jan. 20. Not surprisingly, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the two leading vote-getters, with 1.076 million and 1.054 million, respectively.


On Twitter: @ByDavidMurphy

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