There aren’t a whole lot of details that Elton Brand remembers from his last trip to the NBA playoffs except for one important one…
“It was too short,” Brand said.
Five years ago with the Los Angeles Clippers, Brand carried his team to the seventh game of the Western Conference semifinals against the Phoenix Suns where his 36-point performance just wasn’t enough to advance. In fact, with Brand averaging 31 points, 10 rebounds and more than 45 minutes per game in the series, there wasn’t much more he could have done for his Clippers.
Had Brand and the Clippers won Game 7, he certainly would have been the toast of Tinseltown since the Lakers had already lost to the Suns in the previous round. Still, his best memory of his lone playoff appearance is quite pure and it has to do with the basics of why people play the game.
“The excitement and how hard everybody plays – it’s amazing,” Brand said. “Then to win a series and put another team down, that’s what I’ll remember.”
But as fate would have it, Brand hasn’t been back to the playoffs since. More notably, who would have guessed that in 11 NBA seasons headed into the 2010-11 campaign that the 2005-06 Clippers would be the only winning team Brand played for.
Until now, that is.
Wednesday night’s 108-97 victory over the Houston Rockets at the Center all but sewed up a spot for the 76ers in the postseason. The worst the team can do is tie for the No. 8 seed, but of course the Sixers would have to lose the last seven games of the season and the Charlotte Bobcats would have to win out. The chances of that happening are less than one percent.