Sixers Get a Taste of Winning After Heartbreaking Defeat

Written By Roy Burton On Thursday, November 04, 2010

Brand is on pace for a spectacular 2010 campaign.

In each of the first four games of the season, the Philadelphia 76ers have offered flashes of untapped potential. There have been extended periods of stifling defense, frenzied runs at the beginning of quarters, and boundless energy provided by their second unit in key situations.

Wednesday night, those glimpses finally came together to form a beautiful picture -- an impressive 101-75 win over the visiting Indiana Pacers. Elton Brand, who scored 25 points and added 12 rebounds, was one of six Sixers players who finished in double figures.

Brand, who won't win any popularity contests among Sixers' fans any time soon, has arguably been the team's best player this year. Noticeably slimmer, he's averaging 18 points and 9.6 rebounds in nearly 37 minutes each night. Despite more than 11 seasons in the league, he doesn't seem fazed by the extended action he's seen so far.

"It’s nothing," said Brand following the game. "I’m ready to go out there and contribute."

Of the Sixers' 101 points, 41 came from the Sixers' bench as Thaddeus Young led the second unit with 16 points. In what seems to be a common occurrence this season, the team's offensive sets appeared to be more effective once the substitutes checked into the game.

With the versatile Young, rookie Evan Turner, and Louis Williams, the Sixers boast one of the better eight-man rotations in the Eastern Conference.

On the other end of the court, Brand and Spencer Hawes were far more effective than in past games, limiting Pacers center Roy Hibbert to 9 points on only 4-for-12 shooting. In truth, the entire team contributed to a spectacular defensive effort, holding the Pacers to only 31.5 percent shooting from the field.

The Sixers -- who were up by 26 at the half -- maintained their lead despite the absence of Doug Collins in the second half. For the second time in three weeks, Collins was stricken with symptoms of vertigo -- a result of a concussion that he sustained this past May.

However, even with Michael Curry assuming the head coaching duties while Collins stayed in the locker room, the Sixers didn't miss a beat.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the win was the fact that it came a night after one of the most heartbreaking losses you'll ever see. With 0.5 seconds left in regulation on Tuesday night, the fans in Washington's Verizon Center erupted when the Wizards' Cartier Martin hit a 3-pointer, tying the game at 106 apiece.

While the Sixers hung with the Wizards for most of the extra period, they were unable to contain John Wall (29 points, 13 assists, 9 steals) and Audray Blatche (23 points), falling to the Wizards 116-115 in overtime.

It was one of those games that typically results in a poor showing the following night. To exert that much energy for 53 minutes and come away with nothing to show for it can be a bit disheartening for most teams. To the Sixers' credit, they came back 24 hours later with their finest effort of the season -- a performance that they can hopefully build on in the near future.

"It feels good to win one," said Brand, following the game. "We know we can win ballgames, so it feels good to get one now."

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