Brand, Sixers take down Blazers on road
Elton Brand said the Philadelphia 76ers’ game plan was simple.
Even coming from behind, they made it look easy.
Brand scored a season-high 25 points and had nine rebounds in
a reserve role as Philadelphia rallied to beat the Portland Trail
“We attacked. That’s really all it was. We attacked,” Brand
Philadelphia (8-22) shot 75 percent during the third quarter
and made 26-of-40 shots after halftime as the Sixers wiped out
Portland’s 10-point lead in the third quarter.
For the game, Philadelphia made 57.7 percent from the field
(45-of-78). The Blazers shot 42.2 percent (35-of-83).
Brand, a former All Star, hit 11-of-16 shots in 30 minutes.
Allen Iverson, returning to the lineup after missing the past four
games with a knee injury, made 7-of-11 shots and scored 19 points.
Marreese Speights hit 7-of-8 shots and was one of three Sixers to
score 14 points.
The return of Iverson appeared to give Philadelphia a boost.
Iverson’s first game since Dec. 16 wasn’t easy for the 34-year-old
“Once I got my second wind I was all right. The first couple
minutes I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest,” said
Iverson, who in 31 minutes also handed out five assists and
collected four rebounds.
Philadelphia lost three of four games with Iverson sidelined.
“Having Allen back helps. He’s a finisher. He can get to the
line and get the ball to guy at the right time. We’ve missed that,”
Portland (20-13) came into Monday’s game having won four
consecutive games, all against teams with winning records. Only
Minnesota (7-24) and New Jersey (2-28) had worse records in the NBA
Brand thought Portland looked past the Sixers.
“If you look at our record, it’s easy to overlook a team like
us. But we’re talented and this is what can happen,” Brand said.
Portland coach Nate McMillan, noting that the Blazers gave up
60 points inside the paint and 61 second-half points, was
disappointed with his team’s lack of urgency after its recent play
in wins over Miami, Dallas, San Antonio and Denver.
“We were a step slow all night long. The movement, the ball
movement, setting the screens. I didn’t think we got to our tempo,”
Brandon Roy led Portland (20-13) with 24 points, while
LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Portland controlled the second quarter to take a 49-43
halftime lead. The key stretch came midway through the quarter
when, with the game tied 36-36, Roy and Dante Cunningham combined
to score nine unanswered points to give the Blazers a 45-36 lead.
Portland stretched its lead to 61-51 midway during the third
quarter before Philadelphia made its move. The Sixers went on a
13-4 run, then capped the quarter when Royal Ivey hit a
buzzer-beating 22-footer to give Philadelphia a 77-73 lead heading
into the fourth quarter.
The Sixers continued their surge during the final period.
Over a 13-minute stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters,
Philadelphia outscored the Blazers 40-17 to take a 91-78 lead with
6:05 left in the game. The Sixers led by as many as 16 points.
Notes: Philadelphia has won three straight over Portland and
five of its past six over the Blazers. Iverson, acquired by
Philadelphia on Dec. 5, is averaging 16.1 points in six games with
the Sixers. Since Nov. 11, Philadelphia is 4-18. Roy has scored at
least 23 points in 13 consecutive games. It is the longest active
streak of 20-point plus games in the NBA. Portland committed a
season-low seven turnovers against the Sixers.