Sixers vs. Mavs: Elton Brand's Return

Whole Lotta Handsome Man. - Pat Lovell-US PRESSWIRE

The Old School Chevy chugs his way back to Philly for the first time since they amnestied him.

I know you want to make Andrew Bynum comparisons with Elton Brand. I know you do. But stop it. All injuries are not equal and hindsight does not jive with philosophy. Elton Brand was never the player he was supposed to be after the Sixers signed him in the summer of 2008. Bynum is 4 years younger than Brand was and, at the time of the trade, not coming off major injury. So stop that.

Now on the Mavericks, we can take a good second or two to appreciate EB's consistency during his years in Philadelphia. Especially because the frontcourt has been horrendous and were Brand still in town, he'd have mitigated the major issues at least slightly. Dude played way too many minutes at the 5 for being a 6'8 forward and didn't raise an eyebrow. While he was never great, he was as solid as it gets with the Sixers. All I got his love for you, brother.

Sup with the Mavs now though? I asked LJ Rotter of Mavs Moneyball because we're friends from the Vegas Summer League (also referred to as "Weekend of Rueter") and I have her sweatshirt and airplane pillow still in my trunk.

The Mavericks have resumed their position as the head-shakingist team in the West. They're a .500 team without Dirk Nowitzki, which is about where we all expected them to be, but secretly hoped they wouldn't. They have played in games without Shawn Marion, Chris Kaman and Rodrigue Beaubois and done fine, and then they've had a healthy roster sans Dirk and completely fallen apart. They hung around with the team sporting the best record in the NBA (Knicks) and snatched a win, and then hosted a Lakers team who had been winless on the road and winless on second nights of back-to-backs and couldn't lose worse if they'd tried.
All non-Mavs faithful will look at this roster and look at where the team is and say "hey, it'll all be ok when Dirk comes back" (sound familiar, Philly fans?) but the issue isn't just Dirk's physical absence from the court. It's that we have a team with the potential to be really scary good, as we've seen, that can't find a modicum of consistency from one night to the next. O.J. Mayo has been dazzling us with his outside shooting, but we all know that's not a dependable winning method. Just ask Jason Terry. Chris Kaman started the season almost perfect, and then started taking weird jumpshots and losing rebounds left and right. Darren Collison... he's still trying to figure this whole thing out and he has moments of brilliance followed by head-scratching ineptitude.
Both these teams seem to be suffering from rebounding issues so it should be fun to watch which squad can figure it out tonight. I think they'll match up well enough to make for an entertaining game. The Mavericks haven't played since their disastrous loss Saturday, so hopefully they'll have fresh legs and focus.

Read what I wrote about the Sixers here. What I'm most interested in seeing is how the teams match up. Doug usually likes Evan Turner to play on the ball (covering Rajon Rondo) while Jrue Holiday follows the off-guard through screens (Jason Terry or Ray Allen). Mayo is a tough cover for Jrue and Collison is a tough cover for Evan. Should they switch, I think both get beat often. We'll see how it shakes out.

This home game is the last of a stretch where the Sixers played 10 of their first 15 games at home. The next 20 are not going to be so kind. 14 will be on the road, including the traditional West Coast swing around Christmas and New Years when I'm bitterly back East having to stay up and watch them. Pretty sure that's intentional.

Thoughts on the game tonight? 9-6 would sure look nice thus far. Oh and for reading material, here's some Zach Lowe brilliance at Grantland. Not much you didn't already know, but we should never ignore great writing because of the topic.

As always: Philadelphia 76ers Tickets. Lower level as low as like 8 bucks because obviously there are so many better things to do in Philly than see the only sports team in town.

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