Sixers Notes: Brown a defensive force vs. Jazz
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For the Utah Jazz, the gameplan has been pretty simple. Look for a good shot and take it. If it doesn’t go in, don’t worry because Al Jefferson will be there to clean up the mess.
So far this season that plan has worked pretty well. Jefferson went into Friday night’s game at the Wells Fargo Center with an NBA leading 106 rebounds and was averaging 15 points per game.
For the opposition, if it can stop Jefferson, it could stop Utah.
Friday night, Kwame Brown stopped Jefferson and Utah in the Sixers’ 99-93 victory.
It won’t look like much in the box score. Brown scored one basket and had six rebounds in 23 minutes. However, what the box score won’t explain is that Jefferson scored just four points in the second half and coach Doug Collins didn’t have to double team with a smaller lineup.
Brown took care of that himself.
“That’s why we got him,” Collins said. “I don’t care if he scores a basket. What he brings to us as a physical presence. We don’t win the game without him tonight. There’s no way, because we had to have two big, strong guys play a lot of minutes tonight.”
With All-Star Andrew Bynum expected to be out of the lineup into January (see story)
, the Sixers will put a lot of responsibility on Brown’s back to manage the low post. Though he’s been battling a calf strain that has cost him all but three games this season, Brown’s minutes have increased with each appearance. In Wednesday night’s loss against Detroit, Brown went just 13 minutes. Had the Sixers been able to get more out of him, perhaps the game would have turned out differently.
Against the Jazz, Brown handled the matchup issues and allowed Collins to turn to Lavoy Allen and Thad Young for offense in the front court late in the game.
“He was great. He was a big, physical presence for us tonight and he did his job,” Young said. “He made it so we didn’t have to double team them and have to help out on Al Jefferson. He made it easy for us.”Lavoy steps up
Meanwhile, after two games in which he missed all seven shots he took and placed a big goose egg on the scoring ledger, Allen turned in a second straight solid outing.
In 29 minutes off the bench, Allen shot 5 for 11 for 10 points with a team-high eight rebounds. He also had three assists and two blocked shots.
With Allen and Brown, Collins can use Thad Young to flatten the court with his speed in transition.
“I feel for Thad. The last two games he’s had to play against two physical bigs and it takes a little bit of a toll,” Collins explained. “In the fourth quarter I thought he was a little tired so I came in with Lavoy and then brought Thad back.”
All told, Collins got 53 minutes from Allen and Brown. It’s not quite Bynum, but it helps.
“It’s huge to get 53 minutes from those big guys,” Collins said.E-mail John Finger at firstname.lastname@example.org