Brand right on time
Starter regains his minutes
PHILADELPHIA - After four straight games in which he played fewer than 18 minutes, Elton Brand suddenly has regained his minutes and his standing, despite the injuries that continue to limit him.
He played well in Game 5, and again in Game 6, earning more than 34 minutes in Wednesday night’s series-extending Sixers win. Brand made 5 of 9 shots from the field for 13 points and he had 10 rebounds. “You can’t do much if you’re on the bench watching,’’ Brand said. “Coach trusted me with some minutes out there, and when I’m out there we could give it all.’’
Coach Doug Collins relied far more on his starters in Game 6 than he has in previous games, with Lavoy Allen and Thaddeus Young spending more time on the bench than usual. Instead, Collins stuck with Brand, a player he repeatedly has praised throughout this postseason.
It was the ninth playoff double-double of Brand’s career, and his third with Philadelphia. He has 32 points in the last two games, after scoring just 17 points in the first four games against Boston.
“When you get out there, you don’t feel much,’’ Brand said. “You’ve got the adrenaline flowing, you’re banging and fighting. That’s why when Coach has confidence in me to play 34 minutes, I’d rather not stop. I played 14 minutes three games in a row.
“We had leads and things going on, and I thought I could help. When I’m out there I’m going to try to help my teammates and find a way to get a victory.’’
The decision to use Young less at the end of Game 6 was because of a matchup, Collins said. It won’t necessarily continue in Game 7 . . . Brand referenced Kevin Garnett’s knock on the Philadelphia fans, saying, “Just for our fans. That’s what this win was for, at home. Someone else was talking bad about our fans, so it was good to get this victory for them.’’ . . . The Sixers are 6-1 when holding opponents to fewer than 90 points in the postseason. They were 28-8 in such situations in the regular season. The 75 points by the Celtics was only 1 more than the fewest ever allowed in the playoffs by the Sixers. They gave up 74 to Chicago in Game 3 of the first round.
A vote for Iguodala
While the Celtics had two players named to the NBA’s All-Defensive second team in Garnett and Rajon Rondo, the Sixers’ Andre Iguodala received the most points (19) without being named to the team, which is voted on by the coaches.
“I’m very surprised,’’ Collins said. “To me, he’s definitely one of the premier defenders at his position in this league. I can see LeBron [James], LeBron is a guy who can guard multiple positions, as can Dre. But to me there’s no question that Dre should have been, at worst, a second-team all-league defender. That’s disappointing.’’
Iguodala spent most of his time in this series on Paul Pierce, trying to contain the Celtics’ leading scorer. Pierce, who had 24 points Wednesday night, is averaging 19.7 points against the Sixers, a tick above his season average of 19.3.
“I know what he does for us, and I know our team knows what he does for us,’’ Collins said. “That’s really the most important thing. But it’s always nice to be recognized. There’s no question about that, like when he made the All-Star team this year.
“He prides himself on his defense. That’s what he hangs his hat on every single night. I know that I sure appreciate him.’’