Allen shines in place of injured Brand

Posted: May 19, 2012

Before Friday's game, coach Doug Colling was emphatic. He was sticking with Elton Brand, if only at the beginning.

Collins praised the 12-year veteran forward for his dedication to the team, saying Brand has continued to work hard and fight through injuries even when booed by the fans in years past.

And despite Brand's struggles in the first three games of the series, Collins felt he needed to let Brand start out of loyalty.

Brand's first stint on the floor didn't last long in Friday night's game. Collins yanked him less than three minutes into the game. But by the time he took a seat, the 76ers were already behind, 12-0.

Brand ended with the amazing come-from-behind victory with three points and two rebounds in 15 minutes, 43 seconds of playing time.

"He's one of our proudest players," Collins said before the game. "I admire and respect him for that. I'm not going to come in here in a game like [Friday night] and not have him in our starting lineup. I'm just not going to do that. I have too much respect for this game and for him, for what he's done for our team, for this organization.

"I'm going to give him every chance to be successful. I believe that's what you do with players who are professional."

The coach admitted before the game that Lavoy Allen provides a better offensive boost, averaging 8.7 points and 5.3 boards in the series entering the game.

Also, Collins admitted that Allen gave the Sixers a defensive boost, especially against Celtics center Kevin Garnett. Allen had a clutch eight points and 10 rebounds Friday.

"We'd like to have Lavoy out there on KG because [of] his strength," Collins said. "With just the matchups to start the game, we haven't been able to do that. But I'm not going to change the starting lineup."

Coming off a hot game Wednesday during which he scored 27 points and 13 rebounds, Garnett was relatively quiet in Game 4.

Brand first reported that his neck was bothering him at the beginning of the month, and it has affected his performance. He averaged 11 points and 7.2 rebounds in 28 minutes per game during the regular season.

Allen, meanwhile, has given the Sixers an unexpected boost this series, even if the results haven't shown in the final scores. He is averaging 23 minutes a game - about twice as many as his regular-season average.

While Brand's numbers are still well below what the Sixers are accustomed to, he did show signs of improvements coming out of the locker room at halftime. He finally got on the board by drawing a foul and knocking down a free throw at the 10-minute mark of the third quarter. He also knocked down a 15-foot jumper to cut Boston's lead to five points midway through the quarter.

He was also on the court during the Sixers' run after halftime to cut into Boston's early commanding lead.

Entering Friday's game, he averaged three rebounds and 4.7 points per game. He did not play more than 18 minutes in any of those games.

"I think his neck is bothering him more than he wants to say," Collins said.

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