Robert Covington's Energy and Defense Immense for Sixers - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Robert Covington's Energy and Defense Immense for Sixers

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    Robert Covington's Energy and Defense Immense for Sixers
    CSNPhilly.com
    Robert Covington's energy and defense immense for Sixers

    With Joel Embiid still working his way back from surgery to repair a fractured left orbital bone, Robert Covington has taken over as the Sixers' designated hype man on the floor.

    Whenever there is a big play - or an opponent at the free throw line threatening to reward fans with a beloved Frosty - Covington can be seen waving his arms to raise the noise level inside the Wells Fargo Center.

    He might have gotten a little more than he bargained for on Saturday.

    "There were times when I literally couldn't hear myself think," Covington said of the atmosphere for the Sixers' 130-103 Game 1 win over the Heat (see observations).

    While most of the roars raining down in Saturday's victory were for Ben Simmons' high-flying dunks or the Sixers' team playoff-record 18 three-pointers (Covington had two of his own), the swingman deserved a personal applause for all of the other contributions he made.

    One quick glance at the box score shows Covington had a pedestrian nine points, seven rebounds and four assists, as he battled foul trouble all night. However, dig a little deeper and you'll really unearth just how valuable he is to this squad.

    Covington had three blocks, several dives on the floor for loose balls and even more deflections. That sticky defense was also a major reason Miami's starting five shot a collective 32.5 percent from the field, as the Sixers tightened the clamps after halftime.

    "We just had to be more maniacal and get more locked in," Covington said. "We were able to do that in that third period and that's what allowed us to get that lead."

    "He was huge," Simmons said of Covington's defense. "Had a lot of deflections, blocks. He's just a great defender all around. He's long and he did a great job tonight."

    It's the type of impact Sam Hinkie envisioned when the former Sixers executive plucked Covington from the G League in 2014. 

    Four grueling years later, Covington is just happy he could be a main cog in one of the most remarkable franchise turnarounds in NBA history.

    "It's been unique," he said. "Overall, just being here with this team and to see the transition has been amazing. I'm thankful to be a part of it. A lot of people have come through this locker room over the years. Just to still be here, part of this team and I'm adding to the success. Not giving up, not being comfortable. It's one of the things where you just have to continue to work and that's what I did year in and year out."