PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Elton Brand had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Thaddeus Young scored 16 points to help the Philadelphia 76ers to their first victory of the season, 101-75 over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Sixers coach Doug Collins wasn’t around to celebrate his first win since he was hired in May. Collins left the bench at halftime because of symptoms related to vertigo. He missed two preseason games because of symptoms related to a concussion he sustained on Memorial Day, then had neurological testing and treatment for what was diagnosed as vertigo.
Collins had nothing to worry about but his health when he left with the Sixers holding a 26-point lead. One night after a crushing overtime loss at Washington, Philadelphia dominated early for its first win in five games.
Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams all had 11 points for the Sixers. Evan Turner scored 12.
Associate head coach Michael Curry took over at the break and watched the Pacers cut into the lead before Williams sank a 3-pointer right before the horn to push the lead back to 20.
All the necessary ingredients that the Sixers missed the first four games all came together in the first quarter. They got scoring from their starters — Brand, Holiday and Spencer Hawes combined for 22 points. They raced out to a fast start and led by 15 points. And they got to the free throw line.
The Sixers had difficulty just getting to the line in the first four games. Collins complained before tip that Sixers starters averaged only nine free throws a game. Amazingly, Hawes hadn’t attempted one all season. Holiday went to the line only four times and Jason Kapono, who started two games, only once all season.
Hawes got there in the first quarter, missing both attempts. Led by Brand, the Sixers shot from the line 11 times in the quarter. They made 21 of 25 overall.
With another sparse crowd chanting “Let’s go, Lou!” for some rare noise, Williams hit a step-back jumper to make it 31-16 to end the first. The 5,000 fans or so who showed up gave the Sixers a standing ovation.
They had more reason to cheer later for Brand. Considered a huge free-agent bust after two disappointing seasons in Philadelphia, Brand reported to training camp lean, in shape and insistent he could still be a 20-10 player. He was at 16.3 and 9.0 rebounds entering the game and was strong from all around the basket against the Pacers.
Collins said the Sixers were winless, not hopeless. He might yet be right.
Darren Collison led the Pacers with 11 points. Danny Granger, averaging 27.0 points, was 2 for 14 and scored only seven. Granger made his only 3-pointer during a 13-2 run in the third that briefly rattled the Sixers.
Brand made a flurry of 6- to 10-footers in the fourth to push back the Pacers and make this one a rout.
Notes: Pacers coach Jim O’Brien coached the Sixers in the 2004-05 season and led them to the playoffs. He said he knew in January of that year he would only last the season, the first of a multiyear deal, because of disagreements with management. … Marreese Speights grabbed 11 rebounds off the bench to give the Sixers a 45-35 edge.
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