Throughout the playoffs, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and his players lauded the young talent of the 76ers and rightly so. But on a night when the Sixers' season ended, it was the old faction of the starting five that led another effort that fell just short. The Heat eliminated the Sixers, 97-91, in Game 5 at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Sixers lost the opening-round series, four games to one. On this night, while staring elimination squarely in the face, it was 32-year-old Elton Brand in the first half and 27-year-old Andre Iguodala in the second who were the keys for the Sixers. Brand scored 14 of his 22 points in the first half. Iguodala scored 18 of his 22 in the second. They were the only two Sixers starters who had playoff experience, and they provided ample leadership in this final game. Brand turned out to be the true team leader. "He is one of the ultimate professionals I have ever been around," Sixers coach Doug Collins said after the game. Brand just completed his 12th NBA season, among his most satisfying. "Being a mentor to young guys, Andre and myself are proud to have our guys under our tutelage," Brand said. Iguodala had slumped in the first three games, totaling just 19 points. He had 16 points in Sunday's 86-82 win and followed that up with his Game 5 effort, when he shot 10 for 14 from the field and contributed 10 rebounds and four assists. Iguodala, who missed six total games in his first six seasons, was sidelined for 15 this year. And he played down the stretch with painful right knee tendinitis. He prepared for the playoffs by sitting out the final two regular-season games.
Brand, Iguodala stepped up in Sixers' last stand
Philly.com | Apr 28