Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Brand, Sixers come up short against Hornets

Now that the Eagles are done, I figured it was time for me to start paying more attention to the Sixers. After a tremendously slow start to the season, the Sixers have been streaking lately, recently winning 8 straight games and pulling themselves near the .500 mark. It's no coincidence that the Sixers went on this run as soon as their big free agent acquisition, Elton Brand, went down with an injury. With Brand out, the Sixers were able to do what they do best: run and gun.

Well, Brand is back in the lineup and things should really get interesting as the Sixers try to integrate the big man into their running style of play. They were unsuccessful on Monday against the Hornets, a game the Sixers led at halftime by 7 points but still ended up losing 101-86. Brand came off the bench for the Sixers and played only 18 minutes, totaling a whopping 0 points and 3 rebounds. Leading the way for the Sixers offensively was Thaddeus Young, who totaled 22 points. Andre Iguodala chipped in 17 points and added 7 assists but none of it was enough to overcome Peja Stojakovic's 6 3-pointers and Chris Paul's stat-filling line of 27 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds and 7 steals. That's right, the barely six foot Paul grabbed 10 boards and nearly put up a quadruple-double.

While this was only the second game back since his injury, Brand's uninspiring play is hardly encouraging. The Sixers are going to have to figure out how to work him into the run and gun offense that the team likes to run otherwise Brand will turn into the most expensive 6th man in the league.

The inability to get the team playing to its strengths was the reason Mo Cheeks was fired. Let's hope Tony DiLeo figures out a way to put the pieces together.

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