Sixers opening lines of communication

Posted: November 29, 2010

It was a small and quick piece of advice that Elton Brand gave Thaddeus Young during Friday night's loss to Miami. But, it was significant.

Seeing that the Heat had ancient forward Juwan Howard matched up against Young after a timeout, Brand told Young to get the ball and go to the basket. About 7 seconds into the possession, Young did just that and scored two points to trim the Miami lead to five points. Brand nodded approvingly as the two made their way down the court, and so did Sixers coach Doug Collins on the bench.

It was just two points in what turned out to be a nine-point loss, but it was a play with far bigger meaning. Collins has talked endlessly since the beginning of the season about how his team needs to communicate more, and be able to adjust on the fly. Too many of his players are introverted on the court. Though they may see something, they often wait for their coach to make an adjustment, instead of doing it themselves. Brand's interaction with Young was one of the few times that has happened this season - at least with immediate success.

And Brand picked the right player with whom to impart his wisdom. Young has been one of the few bright spots for Collins recently. Over the past nine games, Young has averaged 14.4 points a game while shooting 60.4 percent from the floor. In Saturday's 102-86 victory over New Jersey, he shot 5-for-7 en route to 13 points. His numbers have increased mainly because he has made a concentrated effort to take the ball to the basket and not settle for outside shots.

Speaking of Brand, he was idle for the first time this season when the league handed him a one-game suspension last week because of his flagrant foul on Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee.

Brand gave McGee a two-handed shove to the upper body while McGee was going up for a dunk. McGee landed awkwardly and took some time walking off his fall.

Brand was given the next night off in Toronto.

"Actually, my mom was in Toronto so we watched the game together," Brand said. During the game, Brand said he noticed some things that are harder to see while he's involved in the game.

"I see the movement of the ball a little bit differently," he said. "I see game situations where I say, 'Hey, I could step in there, or I could box this guy out.' Just certain things that we could do to come closer to winning ballgames."

Though McGee was fine and played the rest of the game with no problem, Brand was remorseful for the hit.

"It is what it is," Brand said. "You don't want to see anybody get hurt. It wasn't my first suspension and it won't be my last. I wasn't trying to hurt the kid and he's been playing really well, and I'm glad he's OK."

Six shots

Swingman Jason Kapono, who has missed the past four games due to personal reasons, will be back for tomorrow's home game against the Portland Trail Blazers . . . The Sixers then play Friday in Atlanta and host Charlotte Saturday . . . Jrue Holiday had 20 points and 13 assists in the win over New Jersey.

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