There was so much more on Robert Covington's mind Monday night than just the Cavaliers. Covington learned shortly prior to game time that his childhood friend had been fatally shot.
"I found out before the game that a friend of mine back home had gotten killed today," Covington said following the Sixers' 113-91 loss (see observations). "It kind of threw my mental off right before the game."
"Wrong place at the wrong time," he added.
Covington went an uncharacteristic 0 for 9 from three-point range (two points). He entered the game averaging 46.2 percent from long range and had not been without a three since March 24.
Covington wanted to be on the court to help the Sixers take on the Cavaliers in spite of the circumstances. He talked to Brett Brown about the situation before playing. Covington thought his friend would have wanted him to suit up for the game.
"I tried to play through it for my team and my teammates and everything, but it was just one of them tough games to deal with," Covington said. "It kind of showed."
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Covington, a native of Bellwood, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, said he met his friend when he was in fifth grade. Covington said his friend, who was 29, left behind a family.
"He's one of those guys that was around to be like a big brother," Covington said. "He might not have been physically there, but when we did talk, he definitely kept my spirits up a lot. He was somebody that kind of pushed me. It's unfortunate to see him go."
He added, "This is something that's hard to deal with. It's never an easy feeling losing someone that you grew up with."
Covington hopes to be able to attend the funeral and has yet to determine if he will miss a game to do so. He already was eyeing the Sixers' next game against the Wizards.
"Now I've got to sit up here and bounce back," Covington said. "It's going to be a tough couple of days, but we've got another one coming up Wednesday. Hopefully I'll be able to lock myself back in and come back in Wednesday [with a] whole different attitude."