PHILADELPHIA -- While the rest of his teammates started hot,
Elton Brand needed a little more time to find his rhythm.
The old veteran has hit his stride.
The Sixers are 7-2 and lead the Atlantic Division. It's their
best start since Allen Iverson helped them open 10-0 on their way
to the NBA Finals in 2000-01.
Brand, the oldest starter on a young squad, was averaging just
8.1 points and 7.1 rebounds entering the game. He didn't mind
sharing the spotlight.
"I wasn't frustrated at all," Brand said. "If we win, I'm
happy. I always have confidence in my game. I'm not impatient. I
knew eventually my time would come where I'll be the go-to guy."
Rookie Jimmer Fredette scored seven points in his first start
for Sacramento. Filling in for injured leading scorer Marcus
Thornton, the former BYU sensation shot 2 for 7. DeMarcus Cousins
led the struggling Kings with 17 points.
"We didn't have our regular rotation so the other guys had to
make adjustments," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "Their bench is
their strength and gave them a huge lift."
Evan Turner had 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and
Jrue Holiday added 17 points for Philadelphia, which had six
players reach double figures. With second-year coach Doug Collins
calling the shots and a deep roster, the Sixers are relevant again
in sports-crazed Philadelphia.
After winning 41 games and losing to Miami in five games in the
first round of the playoffs last year, the Sixers are one of the
NBA's up-and-coming teams. They've won five games by at least a
"Our guys came back in great shape, we're young, we're
resilient," Collins said.
This game quickly turned into a rout early in the third quarter.
An 11-0 run featuring three baskets from Brand extended the lead to
63-42. It reached 84-60 when Jodie Meeks hit his third 3-pointer of
A 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter made it a laugher. Lou
Williams scored six in a row and Thaddeus Young capped it off with
a dunk that put Philadelphia up 94-62.
But this was Brand's night.
"He was struggling and he wants to work twice as hard,"
Collins said. "He's such a pro, he has an incredible routine. It
was fun for our team to see him smile."
Brand shrugged it off in typical fashion.
"To me, it doesn't matter if it's Andre (Iguodala), Thad or
Spencer (Hawes) stepping up, we're a team," Brand said.
Fans roared when Meeks hit a jumper midway through the fourth to
give the Sixers 100 points, which means fans can take their ticket
stubs to McDonald's for a free Big Mac on Wednesday.
The only negative for Philadelphia was an injury to Hawes, the
starting center. He didn't play the second half because of a
strained lower back. Collins said Hawes could return Wednesday
night at New York.
The Sixers had another slow offensive start and trailed 11-8
midway through the first. Turner's driving layup with under a
minute left gave Philadelphia a 22-20 lead, and it led the rest of
Thornton missed his first game with a bruised left thigh. The
Kings already were without starting forward Chuck Hayes, who is
expected to miss three to four weeks with a dislocated left
"They have a great bench," Tyreke Evans said. "They just put
a whipping on us. We just broke down in the third quarter."
The Sixers go on the road to play their third game in
three nights Wednesday at the New York Knicks. ... The Kings have
lost four in a row on the road to start the season for the first
time since 2008. They are 1-2 under Smart. Paul Westphal was fired
last week after Sacramento opened 2-5. ... Former Sixers center
Darryl Dawkins, known as "Chocolate Thunder," was introduced at
center court before the game. ... This was Philadelphia's
highest-scoring game of the season. ... Evans, from nearby Chester,