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News » Brand starting to show his worth to Sixers

Brand starting to show his worth to Sixers

Brand starting to show his worth to Sixers OKLAHOMA CITY - And now, a word or two about the 76ers without the mention of a certain diminutive guard who might or might not be coming back to play for the team.

Maybe, just maybe, Sixers forward Elton Brand is becoming the player fans have been clamoring for - you know, the one who averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds in nine seasons before he signed that 5-year, $80 million contract in the summer of 2008.

Brand would be the first to acknowledge that when he played last season, he was far from the player who was a two-time All-Star with the Los Angeles Clippers. He suffered a torn Achilles' tendon early in the 2007-08 season and was nowhere near back to form during his 29-game stint with the Sixers last season. Complicating matters more, of course, was the season-ending shoulder injury.

All Brand would say from the beginning of this season was that his game "is coming." It wasn't coming quick enough, apparently, as after 10 games, coach Eddie Jordan was seriously contemplating taking Brand out of the starting lineup. At the time, Brand was averaging 9.8 points and 5.3 rebounds.

This, of course, is all old news. And with a streak of 11 losses in 13 games and the hoopla surrounding the aforementioned news, Brand has kind of been an afterthought.

Recently, Brand has regained his game a bit.

It was before the Nov. 18 game at home against the Charlotte Hornets that Jordan relented and kept Brand in the starting rotation. The 6-9 Duke product responded in force that night, posting 19 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. It started a string of three-straight games in which Brand averaged just under 20 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocks.

Then came a nasty collision with Washington's Antawn Jamison that caused Brand to feel tightness in his right hamstring and forced him to miss the next three games.

He returned Monday night in Dallas, and in 25 minutes off the bench, posted 21 points and 10 rebounds.

"I think I'm getting over the hump," Brand said following his outing against the Mavericks. "I'm feeling stronger all the time. The hamstring was a setback, but overall my game is getting close."

He then went on to parallel his play with the team's, saying he needs to be able to do a little bit more to get where he wants to be. The team, having lost seven of its last eight by eight points or fewer, also needs to find that little extra to get over the hump.

And, no, we're not alluding to the former No. 3. Not in this story.

"You know, I've just got to keep working hard and I'm confident I can get all the way back," he said. "I'm not that far off. I feel better out on the court every time I'm out there. And that can only make us a better team. We're close, we just have to find a way to win these close games."

Six shots

It will be interesting to see whether Eddie Jordan reinserts Elton Brand as a starter. Willie Green has taken over that spot and has played extremely well. He has averaged 20 points in the last two games, both starts, and has done his usual stellar job on defense . . . Sam Dalembert averaged 16.5 rebounds in the two losses in Texas, including a season-high 19 in Dallas. Jordan said he is a big fan of the center's defensive play.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 3, 2009


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