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News » Grizzlies-76ers Preview 2009-11-19

Grizzlies-76ers Preview 2009-11-19

Grizzlies-76ers Preview 2009-11-19Elton Brand hadn't been contributing much during the first three quarters of the Philadelphia 76ers' recent games, so coach Eddie Jordan decided to keep him on the bench for the final 12 minutes.

In their latest contest, Brand made his presence felt while logging his most floor time of the season.

Brand's breakout performance gave the Sixers a huge lift in avoiding a third straight loss, and they'll hope to see another impressive effort from the veteran big man Friday night as they look for a sixth consecutive win over the visiting Memphis Grizzlies.

Philadelphia's decision to sign Brand to a five-year, $82 million deal in July 2008 was questioned considering the two-time All-Star had missed nearly all of the previous season after rupturing his left Achilles' tendon.

It looked even worse after he missed 53 games last season - 51 because of a dislocated shoulder - and Brand had hardly looked fully recovered as the Sixers lost six of their first 10. He was averaging 9.8 points and 5.3 rebounds, numbers that were essentially half of his career totals, and didn't play in the fourth quarter in six of the last seven games.

That prompted speculation that Jordan would bring Brand off the bench, but he started Wednesday against Charlotte and played his best game in nearly a year. Brand had 19 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks in 42 minutes - all season highs - and Louis Williams' layup with 3.1 seconds remaining gave the Sixers (5-6) an 86-84 win.

"I'm competitive and I want to be on the court. Whether I proved anything to them, I don't know," Brand told the NBA's official Web site. "It's certainly more fun to be on the court in the fourth quarter than to be watching from the bench."

Brand hasn't faced Memphis (3-8) since January 2007. He's averaged 27.0 points in his last seven games against the Grizzlies.

Williams had 19 points Wednesday and he's been perhaps the Sixers' most pleasant surprise in his first year starting after Andre Miller left via free agency. Williams also had six assists, lifting Philadelphia to 4-0 when he has six or more.

"We needed a win," said Williams, who's among the league's top 10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.29 to 1). "To be honest, I was kind of mad that we were behind. I took it personally."

Memphis has won two in a row, and though beating Minnesota and the Los Angeles Clippers at home are hardly marquee victories, coach Lionel Hollins' team is happy with any momentum after parting ways with Allen Iverson this week.

The Grizzlies have shot 51.6 percent in the two wins while getting the newly signed Jamaal Tinsley in the mix at point guard with Mike Conley and Marcus Williams. Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph had 21 points apiece and Memphis had 23 assists to 13 turnovers - its best differential of the season - in a 106-91 win over the Clippers on Wednesday.

"How we played today is something like how we need to play every game," Gay said. "We need to spread the ball around."

Andre Iguodala has averaged 24.2 points as the Sixers have won five straight over the Grizzlies, who are 0-6 on the road.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 19, 2009


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