BOSTON The first thing people wanted to ask 13-year veteran Elton Brand after the Sixers one-point loss to the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals was if he was alright. Considering Brand had only played 15 minutes and was on the training table after the game, it was a fair deduction.
Everything is good, Brand said. Im OK.
Health-wise, yes, Brand is as good as hell be at this point of the season. For a guy who ruptured his Achilles a few years back and has had shoulder surgery, torn ligaments in his thumb and a broken hand since then, Brand is holding up well.
But against the Celtics in the semifinals round, Brand might not get as many minutes as he is accustomed. The Celtics are a team with several players who have been in the league as long as Brand while the Sixers are the youngest team in the playoffs. This is just part of the reason why the Sixers want to get out and run against their older opponents.
And if the Sixers want to run, run and run some more, Brand could be lagging behind.
The Celtics had few answers for the Sixers big men Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen, young players who got up and down the floor to get 27 combined points on 11-for-19 shooting with 14 rebounds. Against veterans Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass, Hawes logged 34 minutes and Allen, the second-round rookie, played nearly 20 minutes.
Coincidentally enough, the last time Brand played so few minutes as the 15:13 he logged on Saturday night was the last time the Sixers played in Boston. During the Easter Sunday loss to the Celtics, Brand played just 14:51, but that wasnt because the Sixers were trying to run it was because the Sixers were getting run.
But in Game 1, Brand could only watch as his youthful teammates gave away a 10-point lead in the final quarter and the more experienced Celtics rallied to win on the strength of simple execution and bad shot selection and turnovers by the Sixers.
No substitute for experience, Brand said after the disappointing loss. They hit some good shots. They ran their plays. They executed and got timely defensive stops. Thats how you advance to the next level for us. But we get some growth from this. We can learn from our mistakes.
The mistakes were plentiful, to be sure. Undoubtedly Brand got a good look at them from the sidelines.
It feels like a missed opportunity because we were leading almost the whole game, not a lot of ties, Brand said. But I think their veteran leadership and their battle-tested, championship-caliber team took over at the end. They made some good shots, and we didnt execute.
Brand didnt get the chance from the sidelines.
Young injuries ankle
While Brand was on one training table getting treatment after the game, frontcourt teammate Thad Young was next to him on the other table getting his right ankle iced up and taken care of after Saturdays Game 1.
Young suffered a sprained ankle during the first half, but he returned to the game in the second quarter. After the game, a gimpy Young said he was, OK. Officially, hes day-to-day.
Young played 21 minutes in Game 1 and shot 1-for-4 from the field and 3-for-6 from the foul line. He had just one rebound.
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