Elton Brand's Time in Philadelphia Is Over: A Look Back at the Old School Chevy's Run

Elton Brand's Time in Philadelphia Is Over: A Look Back at the Old School Chevy's Run

And the Old School Chevy drives off into the sunset. (with a big fat check in the trunk)

The Sixers officially parted ways with Elton Brand this afternoon, electing to use the amnesty clause to get his $18 million cap hit off of their salary cap.

"On behalf of the
Philadelphia 76ers, I want to thank Elton
for his contributions to our organization and city," said Sixers
President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn.  "Decisions of this nature
are never easy,
particularly when it involves a player of Elton's talent and character.
 He worked tirelessly for the overall good of the team every time he
put on a Sixers uniform and we wish him nothing but the best."

It's hard to find a guy making so much damn money and not really performing up to the level typically associated with such lucrative deals as universally liked as Brand. A lot of people talk about certain guys being consummate professionals, and in my relatively short time covering Philadelphia sports teams, he's the one player I've dealt with who really lives up to all of that hype.

I'll always remember the day he signed in Philly. During the press conference EB seemed genuinely touched that Philly gave him every penny they could, dubbing it the "Philly max." Anything "max" is usually tough to live up to.

Some thought his getting amnestied was inevitable, but I wasn't as certain. Their roster isn't necessarily better without him on it, but it does appear to be better suited to prepare for the future.

Doug Collins always spoke incredibly highly of EB, especially after 2011.

"He's got the heart of a lion," Collins said. "Just competes every single moment. I'm
glad he's on my team. He played with a broken left hand, a dislocated
right pinky finger. Never ever complained. One of the ultimate pros I've
ever been around."

That heart will be playing for another NBA team next season, with Dallas being the leading candidate. One can only hope that Elton's heart rubbed off on many of the Sixers youngsters. If it didn't, we may be in trouble.

It wasn't always easy for Brand in Philly, to ride the Old School Chevy analogy a bit further, he had to go to the shop a whole damn lot. But he had a couple of breakout playoff performances against the Celtics during the 2012 run. He fought through the shoulder pain and showed that heart and flashed that once uber reliable midrange jumper. He'll leave Philly with his head held high.

His head is always held high.

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

It had been a while since Steve Mason saw himself.

Walking into the Barclays Center on Sunday, the Flyers’ goalie was 0-6-2 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .844 save percentage over his last 10 appearances (see more recent Flyers numbers and stats).

A far cry from how Mason truly sees himself in net.

But heading into Wednesday’s rivalry clash with the Rangers, Mason will have something to build on, something he couldn’t say since Dec. 21 — the last time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a gigantic one for Mason considering all the key moments on Sunday the Flyers hope invigorate his confidence.

Without numerous clutch stops from their goalie, the Flyers don’t come back from two goals down to beat the Islanders, 3-2, in overtime. Mason made four saves  — three on four-time All-Star John Tavares — in just over a minute of a third-period power play. The Flyers ended up having to kill two New York man advantages in the final 10 minutes of regulation in order to force overtime.

The extra session is when Mason was just as good, if not better, stoning Tavares on a breakaway attempt that had game-winner written all over it. Mason made four saves in overtime after 13 in the third period.

“I was happy with the way that, personally, this game went for myself,” Mason said Sunday. “It’s been a tough stretch and this is more the type of game that I expect of myself. In recent games, the team was lacking the big saves and tonight it shows what kind of difference it can make.”

It was a massive performance heading into a massive three-game stretch against the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.

“Mase made some huge saves for us,” Simmonds said. “It allowed us to get back in that game.

“It’s not just Mase [with the] ups and downs. Everyone in here has been kind of fighting it and squeezing sticks pretty tight. That one felt good and I think Mase led the charge for sure.”

Mason understands just one game doesn’t turn around a season.

“It’s nice to feel good after a game,” Mason said. “At the same time, whether you’re winning or losing, you have to have a short mindset and get ready for the next one.”

That brings the Flyers to Madison Square Garden Wednesday to face the Rangers, who they’ve lost five straight games to dating back to last season. Mason hasn’t had much luck against New York this season, allowing seven goals in two losses with an .860 save percentage. However, in 2015-16, Mason put up a 1.74 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in five games against the Rangers.

“That’s going to be a tough game going into MSG,” Mason said Tuesday (see story).

The good thing: Mason was in New York two days ago, remembering what he can be.

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

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AP Images

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

Bol Bol, the 17-year-old son of the late Manute Bol, is a top high school basketball prospect with offers from schools like Arizona, Kansas and Creighton. This highlight tape should give you an idea why.
 
Bol, whose father played in the NBA for parts of 12 seasons, including 215 games for the Sixers, now attends the famed Mater Dei High School in California and played in his first game of the season this past weekend. Listed as the No. 16 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by Scout, Bol started his season off with a big 21-point, 10-rebound effort.
 
Take a look at the highlight tape from the 6-foot-11 Bol and expect to see him carry on his father’s legacy on the court at a major NCAA college basketball program soon.