Given how poorly Elton Brand was playing in this series, many wanted the 76ers to replace him in the starting lineup with Lavoy Allen, who has had a great series. Coach Doug Collins instead elected to stick with Brand, saying he’s done too much for the franchise to take him out. So far, Brand has rewarded Collins’ trust, turning in a throwback game with 12 first-half points.
There’s a bit of a backstory here that’s worth noting. One of the major reasons former 76ers coach Eddie Jordan failed so horribly in his one year on the job is that he benched Brand and yo-yoed his minutes. This bothered Brand, a true professional by all means who hadn’t given any coaches problems.
Upon taking over the 76ers’ coaching job, one of Collins’ first objectives was to restore Brand’s confidence. Throughout his first year, he talked up Brand’s intangibles and noted how important he was to the team. It was a psychological ploy because he didn’t want to be seen as another Eddie Jordan in Brand’s eyes.
We’re now another year removed from Jordan’s tenure, but I suspect that Collins kept the shaky Brand/Jordan relationship in the back of his mind when deciding not to bench Brand in Game 5.