The media swarmed to Elton Brand's stall just as the doors to the Sixers' locker room opened. This is Brand's first time playing in the Staples Center against the Clippers since he left them in the summer of 2008 and signed a 5-year, $80 million deal with the Sixers.
"It was a great time," Brand said of his years with the Clips. "It was a great part of the Clilpper history, so I'm honored to be a part of that."
For the first time, Brand was dressing in the visitor's locker room.
"It was kind of surreal, no real range of emotions," Brand said of entering the building where he spent 7 seasons with the Clippers. "It's kind of comfortable. I walked into this arena more than any other arena in my career."
When Brand left the Clippers it left some bad feelings between him and Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy. Brand said the two have worked through that before. In a strange twist, Dunleavy won't be on the Clippers bench tonight as he hurt his back at his home today.
Brand has been playing well of late after coach Eddie Jordan took him out of the starting lineup. Brand has been getting major minutes off the bench, and his numbers have been good. In the Sixers two wins this week against Portland and Sacramento, Brand has combined for 39 points, 14 rebounds and hit 16-of-26 shots from the floor. He has been the physical presence Jordan has been looking for all season.
Brand detests coming off the bench, however. He said before the game that he and Jordan had a sit-down before the move, and that as long as the team wins, he's okay to do whatever is needed. He also said that starting is something that could happen again in the future, though he doesn't see it happening soon.
Also, guard Willie Green will miss his third straight game with a sprained ankle.
Happy New Year to all! Have fun, cause that's the best thing to have!