Brand's Surgery & The Suns

The 76ers have announced that Elton Brand's shoulder surgery, which was performed this afternoon by Dr. Craig Morgan at the Christiana Surgery Center in Wilmington, DE., went as planned.

The Sixers said the procedure lasted about an hour, in which Morgan repaired the torn right labrum that Brand suffered when he dislocated his right shoulder on Dec. 17 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Now Brand faces a six-month rehabilitation.

Tonight the Sixers play the Phoenix Suns, who have been in the news recently because, supposedly, they're shopping power forward Amare Stoudemire and, possibly, Shaquille O'Neal.

This game should be interesting because of the run-and-gunning of both teams: Although Phoenix coach Terry Porter is more a halfcourt coach, and Shaq isn't exactly lightning up and down the court. Still, though, the Suns starting lineup appears formidable (even if a couple of these guys -- okay, I'm talking about Grant Hill -- might be past their prime): Stoudemire, O'Neal, Steve Nash, Jason Richardson, Hill.

Phoenix, 28-21, is in the second game of a back-to-back. They played, and beat, the Detroit Pistons last night.

If the Sixers can win, they'll be two games above .500 for the first time this season.

Keys to getting this win: 

1.) Making four or more three-pointers. Royal Ivey's treys were pivotal against the Heat on Saturday night. Sixers can't go 1 for 12 if they're going to beat the Suns. They need that extra dimension in their game. My breakdown? Get one from Andre Iguodala, one from Thaddeus Young, one from Lou Williams, and one from Ivey.

2.) 22-plus fastbreak points. This is how this team has to play. Even against the Suns. Iguodala is one of the fastest north-south guys in the league.

3.) Keep Steve Nash below a double-double. If Nash is averaging 14.1 pts and 9.8 assists. If he goes for 20 points and 15 assists ... um ... it's going to be a long night.

4.) Samuel Dalembert defense like he played 10 days ago against Yao Ming. Dalembert will be handling Shaq. The Sixers are already weak on rotation, and if they're forced to send doubles all the time to Shaq, there are going to be open shooters all over the floor, all night.

If Sixers win this game, they're 26-24, with only the Memphis Grizzlies remaining before the All-Star Break.

More later ...